House as body, ship, vessel, organ, self.
House as body, ship, vessel, organ, self.
I was thinking about marrying the theoretical and the practical in my final project.
Take three pieces of work and approach with a heavy amount of objectivity
A sound interaction
Treat each work in a different way with different levels of participation.
So the levels could be:
1. stand alone work
2. work which is affected/activated by the presence of an audience
3. work which is changed by the interaction of an audience
4. work which is co-authored
Sunday 12th September 2010
Attempting to post regularly from now on to remind myself of stuff. OK so what do I put, this does not come naturally.
Can a working practice be developed which engages the public
Where are the works which engage, that you have sympathy with that don’t ask the audience/viewers to jump through hoops that use digital media and performance.
If successful it becomes a producer of and an arena for social and aesthetic experiences temporarily interuppting singularities through the presentation of participatory art thta actively generates a discursive public space.
‘perception requires involvement’
antoni montadas 1999
Think of a project to encapsulate your research
G.S Evans (editor of Cafe Irreal an online literature magazine) -
Art Alientated, An esay on the decline of perticipatory art.
because of the self-perpetuating nature of our artistic alienation, a self-perpetuation that goes beyond the various structural aspects of capitalist society into the very heart of its ideology. An ideology, held in common by millions of people, that honestly believes that most, or even all, of our needs can be met by the purchase of commodities. Whether it be a better personality, happier life or artistic fulfillment our commodity culture believes that they can all be achieved through the purchase of a commodity, either directly as a manufactured product or indirectly by way of professional services (as provided by psychotherapists, teachers, etc.).
Of course, such a belief is not without some legitimacy, certain important needs can
indeed be satisfied through the purchase of commodities. The quality and quantity of one’s food,
shelter and basic transportation can certainly make a critical difference in one’s well-being.
Further, various forms of mass-production and automation can increase the quantity and quality
of many of these basic goods (both agricultural and industrial), while greatly reducing the labor
time necessary to make them. But when mass-production of commodities starts to replace
personal forms of expression, it becomes quite a different matter. We cannot, for example,
‘manufacture’ interpersonal relationships; we cannot substitute the watching of professional sports
for exercise; and we cannot substitute mass produced art-commodities for personal artistic -
JOHnDewey – art as experience
The sources of
art in human experience will be learned by him who sees how
the tense grace of the ball-player infects the onlooking crowd;
who notes the delight of the housewifein tending her plants, and
the intent interest of her goodman in tending the patch of green
in front of the house; the zest of the spectatorin poking the wood
burning on the hearth and in watching the darting flames and
crumbling coals. These people, if questioned as to the reason for
their actions, would doubtless return reasonable answers. The
man who poked the sticks of burning wood would say he did it
to make the fire burn better; but he is nonethe less fascinated by
the colorfuldramaof changeenactedbefore his eyes and imagina
tively partakes in it. He does not remain a cold spectator. What
Coleridge said of the reader of poetry is true in its way of all who
are happily absorbed in their activities of mind and body: “The
reader should be carried forward, not merely or chiefly by the
mechanical impulse of curiosity, not by a restless desire to arrive
at the final solution, but by the pleasurable activity of the journey
As in Kapprow – attention to life – living attentively
Even a crude experience, if au
thentically an experience,is more fit to give a clue to the intrinsic
nature of esthetic experience than is an object already set apart
from any other mode of experience. Following this clue we can
discover how the work of art develops and accentuates what is
characteristically valuable in things of everyday enjoyment. The
art product will then be seen to issue from the latter, when the
full meaning of ordinary experience is expressed, as dyes come
out of coal tar products when they receive special treatment.
‘We are dealing with numerous attempts to question and transform the fundamental condition of how modern art functions – namely the radical separation of artists and their public.’
Boris Groys A geneology of participatory Art
This project is an attempt to unite socially engaged/participatory work with an autonomous art practice using performance and digital media in a way that makes the art work the site of exchange.
‘We can no longer speak of old fashioned autonomy versus radical engagement since a dialectical pull between autonomy and heteronomy is itself constitutive of the aesthetic.’
Claire Bishop Artforum June 2006
The research will aim to capture and contextualise my knowledge from several years of participatory public art practice; further develop a way of working that challenges notions of authorship, and put creative concepts and aesthetic decisions at the centre of work which at the same time actively engages the viewer/participant. It will include practical experimentation, an examination of the range of activity that is currently taking place, and an analysis of where that work sits within socially engaged/participatory practice.
In the context of this project, I will take the terms socially engaged, collaborative and participatory, to be different terms for community arts; the contexts may have widened, the political climate be less charged than that of the 60s and 70s, but essentially they are terms which are applied to a huge range of artistic practices that engage directly with ‘other people’.
For the past 10 to 15 years in this country, funding for art projects has majored on notions of social inclusion, target audiences and statistical information in an effort to utilize the arts in the service of society and the economy. The drive to capitalize on the ability of artists to deliver social outcomes more cheaply than any economically regenerative scheme, gave rise to a situation where the art was of secondary importance to the aims of the stakeholders and participatory work became formulaic.
Despite this situation in Britain artists continue to seek ways to engage with audiences and perhaps because of this situation have begun to establish the engagement as the artwork itself, subverting government priorities and creating ad hoc inclusive social situations such as the flash mob activities of the live art group ‘The Laboratory of Insurectionary Imagination’. Much of the work in this area is akin to live art practices that use personal interaction as a method of engagement, often influenced by the legacy of Allan Kaprow and Fluxus. Operating across artistic media artist run organisations such as Deveron Arts in Scotland, Allenheads Contemporary Arts in Northumberland, Isis Arts in Newcastle and Artangel in London work with art and social interaction and continue to expand the boundaries of artistic practice.
Internationally there has been a gradual acceptance of participatory and collaborative practices as part of the mainstream. The polarization of contemporary art into community arts and the artistic mainstream that existed began to dissolve with a groundswell of artists like Adrian Piper, Andrea Fraser, Rikrit Tiravanija, Liam Gillick, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Santiago Sierra coming to the fore alongside critical developments by writers and critics such as Suzanne Lacy, Nicolas Bourriaud, Claire Bishop, Grant Kester, Suzy Gablik and Miwon Kwon.
Although there is now a general acceptance of the validity and range of ways of making artwork, there is a question mark over what lies between artistic autonomy and artistic social intervention, and it is this that I wish to interrogate through my research.
The structure of the research should be:
Critical examination of seminal texts and current contributions.
Development of competence in digital sound techniques.
Development of voice in live performance and recording/composition
Studio based development of new work.
Use of journal and visual documentation throughout.
Work developed for at least two different public locations and situations.
Critical evaluation of work.
Use of journal and visual documentation throughout.
Series of interviews conducted with other artists engaged in collaborative practices.
Collation of documentation and research findings.
Work performed and exhibited to illustrate findings.
Written thesis produced
RESEARCH TIMETABLE – WORK ALREADY PLANNED
2nd and 3rd July 2010
Performance and installation piece – ‘Rice Writing’
The Heugh – North Cumbria
Beginning Summer 2010
An opportunity for me to engage with other artsits in a project which has peer learning, collaboration and sight specificity at its heart. with the possibility of community engagement too.
24th Sept – 1st Oct
Sound installation piece – ‘Green Fuse’
RENDER – Newcastle
18th Sept – 28th Nov
Rice Writing – development
SEDITION – Tullie House, Carlisle
21st – 25th Oct
Site specific sound interaction ‘What do you hear’
RESPONSE festival, Suffolk.
‘What do you hear’ – development
25 Stratford Grove, Newcastle
Nov 2010 – June 2011
A series of three research residencies run by ISIS with a particular emphasis on artists whose work involves participation in some way. The artists may be regional, national and international. I would work with the artists as a case study of practice and we may carry out a small project together.
An artists’ lab. Working with a group of regionally based artists some of whom may be less experienced who work in some way with participation. This could be a day or a week. This could be tied in with a festival such as Wunderbar where the works could be shown/carried out – discussions currently underway.
A project which works with the results of the lab in a public context. IISIS could facilitate the setting up.
Dissemination of research in a public setting. A paper to be given at a conference or symposium etc and an exhibition of work by me and other artists who have been involved with the research – particularly the lab. This could coincide with the showing of RENDER and be exhibited in an empty space in Newcastle.
There is a long and distinguished history from 20th Century of artists who have worked in participatory ways from George Brecht and his first solo exhibition ‘Towards Events’ in the 1960′s , to Fluxus, Kapprow’s happenings, the community arts movement of the 70s ad 80s to the flood of artists working in a gallery context such as Rikrit Tir… and Liam Gillick in the 90s. Currently many artists and groups are involved in what is now termed a ‘socially engaged practice’.
This break away from the previous status quo which placed artists in a position separated from the public, is a rejection of the idea of artists as uniquely gifted and singled out to be the creators of culture and is often an attempt to work with and get alongside an audience or public to share experiences. However one an argue that a rejection of art as a solitary singular activity in favour of a collaborative action is too simplistic a solution to the democratisation of art making.
It is important at this stage to define what socially engaged participatory practice means in the context of this research. There are many different practices which come under the banner of ‘socially engaged’ but there isn’t much art that isn’t socially engaged in some way. It is the nature of the interaction which is important and it is this that I will try and describe.
In my experience of working with people to make art work (this is what I will call it at this stage) I have engaged in a huge range of different interactions and these are mirrored in projects that have been carried out by others in the same time frame, but have at their heart the desire to open up the making of art to those who may not have access to it. (what does this mean – they do have access to it, but not the professional sense of it – does that matter?maybe its not about access but about exposure.) Look at the social production of art.
. Quote theories by authors you have read – Baudrillard, Kester, Mi Kwon, Suzanne Lacy, Suzy Gablik, Claire Bishop etc. Moving from a position of putting my participatory practice in to context, analysing it and then moving on to an examination of where I am now.
Looking at hte history of the production of art – The Social Production of Art – Janet Wollf
Art as Expereince – Jphn Dewey
Not the artist as lone genius with a god given talent – a person connected with society – a plitcal stance which I have always adhered to and which was contrary to the way I was taught at undergraudate level which was skewed towards the gallery based or commission based selling artist. Tried to get away from this as a concept and in so doing at times threw the baby out with the bath water losing the art in the interaction and becoming a public servant and still not losing the idea of artist as devinely inspired working on projects which have a creative hierarchy, anyway Working with people was considered peripheral to the real work and in my experience of art projects since has been the case in curatorial and commissining fields. Want to carry out projects which have the enegagement of audience or public within them not as an add on to the artwork or as an end in itself.
Perfforrmance and digital media are ideally placed to be the media through which I achieve this. In the work of artists like allan Kapprow, perofrmance and everyday life are emeshed and this legacy has emerged in todays artists working in scoially engaged ways ( explain how and you must quote artists who have said this) the interactive possibilities in digital media which potentially allow audiences to both interact with work throgh a mediated interface and also away form the site of performance.- think about something using internet or locative media to bring people together – talk to the woman from Falmouth.
The work must be idea driven rather than product driven, however ideas can come from playing iwth materials, maybe I could get away from always having to come up with ideas and just play and make things, the ideas for them will come after that. This could be quite a major change in the way I work. The play being linked to everyday activities, the repetition that I like. I could do this at the ISIS studio
I would like to work in some way with physical computing in performance so that the audience can have an affect on the work with out directly needing to participate. works which inspire me are ones where the audience affect the work in profound or conceptual ways that are not immediately apparent. Work where the sounds of the audience in the space change the ambience, At least I can se the possibilities of this way of working and its relevance to my practice. Providing a site for an experience. I like the idea that the behaviour of an object can be altered or the affect of its behaviour can alter something else – maybe, when it becomes relevant but not when it is just thinking up an idea just for the sake of it. don’t want to develop tricks either – so that the audience are taken up with what is does rather than what it says/means.
interactive work has taken on a new meaning for me. previously I owuld hae thought that interaction was more a way of an artist realising their work and making the public interact on their terms not with any sense of free will – I need to explain this better. Now interaction such as in the giggel piece I did for pysial computing I see as much more of a communication with the actie involvement of the participant or viewer – a conversatin can take place which is meaningful. I can use this in my work effectively I think.
A range of case studies of artists and artists organisations who are working in some way with public interaction in a way that you are sympathetic with – . Lazano- Hemmer, Janet Cardiff, Erwin Wurm, Lygia Clark, Andrea Fraser
Detail of how I will carry out the practice/research.
This will be practice as research lead. Drawing on texts such as ‘Thinking Through art’ and my experience of conferences on this subject. Look ar action research theory from course blog and your research guide. Practice as Research text from NIck Wiliams too.
The piece of work will only become clear once the research has been carried out since it will be the result of the research. I imagine the work will be a series of works which accumilatively point towards a solution which will be embodied in the final piece. In terms of technology, I can see myself using some sort of physical computing devices in interactive performance. The content of the work is obviously unknown at this stage. Rather than use eveal different types of digital media in one piece I would prefer to develop several pieces which illustrate this collectively.
The first true mechanical watches were incredibly expensive, technological marvels of their time. The mechanical pocket watch represented a engineering marvel, they required no pendulum like previous static timepieces, which enabled them to be moved and carried on a person.
The initial social implications of wearing or owning a pocket watch were huge. Of course one had to be very wealthy to even purchase one, but also the buyer would probably have had need for precise time on demand. The combination of wealth and a need for precise timing would have meant that the owners of watches would be important people, doing important business, almost certainly on a schedule.
It was this initial status of the first watch owners that endeared watches with the status symbol position they still hold today.
Despite the coming of quartz timed digital watches, able to tell time far more accurately and cheaply than any mechanical watch, people still buy expensive, Swiss hand made watches. Why? Status, Fashion, Expression of personality.
People purchase watches which are intentionally needlessly complex, based on mechanical designs. These being far more expensive, less accurate and more delicate than a simple Casio digital wristwatch. Current fashions in upmarket watches tend towards expressive complexity and the display of that complexity.
Even digital movement watches are beginning to partake in the trend towards complexity. The company Tokyo Flash is renowned in geek circles for its complex artistic patterns, often forgoing numeric displays and using binary encoding to represent time.
People do this, because they want to differentiate themselves from others, in order to stand out. Being that the origins of the status symbol position which watches hold in our culture was their technological complexity it is no wonder that the primary way to differentiate a watch is the technology of the piece itself. A watch is a representation of personality embodied in technology as much as it is a teller of time.
So, I’ve been experimenting with ways to connect Ableton Live to visual programs, to get tight integration of audio and visual. Live is great because of the flexibility it offers, and the way it can take all samples / tracks and timestretch etc so they are in beat matched. We wanted to use the power of this but you can’t use it for movie tracks, its audio only. So, ideal world is to use Ableton for Audio and something else for the visual side of things. In this example I have hooked it up to Modul8.
My first thoughts were to take the playhead position information from Ableton and pass this across to whichever software was controlling the visual clips, and have waited for Max for Live to be released to realise this. Unfortunately I just haven’t found a way of doing this – I’m still convinced there is something deep in the APi of Max 4 Live that will allow this, but I haven’t found it yet. This would also require a fairly complicated playback method within the visual program, and I think would be much more applicable to when I move across into something like openFrameworks for this.
What I ended up with works really well, and you can see it in this video I recorded of the process. Its really simple (which is generally the best way it seems) and triggers clips when needed. It can’t keep each individual movie clip in time with the audio, but this isn’t necessarily a problem as long as clips are triggered at the right time, ie on a breakdown or a certain bar.
It can also be expanded vastly, and I’ll be looking to produce a small Max patch which will change the midi note into OSC, as i’ll be able to add more to OSC to pass to the visual program. Combining this with the generative visual power of oF, and using audio reactivity, I think I have the basis for a strong AV performance.
Been ages since I’ve posted anything, here’s a last 2009 effort.
Have been thinking about the final project quite a bit, mainly just thinking though, struggling to dedicate the time to develop the oF side of things and audio hasn’t moved on at all, but I have realised I desperately needed to work on the theoretical side of my work. Now the project hasn’t in all honestly got strong artistic reasoning behind it, I basically decided that my aim for this degree was self development and produce stronger audio visual works, and thats what I’m heading towards. I guess my thoughts were down the lines of what does ‘live performance’ mean in the realm of digital/laptop performance and what did my practise involve?
Jamie has suggested a really good book which I’m currently reading (and enjoying) by Richard Sennett called ‘The Craftsman’. It delves deeply into what makes a craftsman, and how a lot of the ethos is lost in a fast paced developing world (actually, it goes massively deeper than that, but I haven’t finished it yet and will do a review once done!) and it has made me think a great deal about what I do (in AV shows) and what I want to achieve. If I’m brutally honest with myself I’m not particularly creative, but my strengths lie in the production and realisation of ideas – hence why I work well in collaboration and partnerships – but this text has made me think more about how far I can go with the realisation side of things. The modern world, especially the working environment, is generally governed by efficiency, profitability and competition, environments which don’t help the idea of craftsmanship, the ideal of taking the time and instilling the effort into making something as good as it can be. I guess I have been guilty in the past of having a ‘that’ll do’ attitude towards some of my work – not necessarily a bad thing when trying to earn enough money to get by in life – and through doing this degree I have an opportunity to both learn and develop new skills, but also really develop the craftsman in me in terms of live AV work.
So I guess the conclusion to this little ramble is that I think my head is pointing towards the right direction – this isn’t about becoming the best programmer / designer / artist etc, or dedicating 100% effort into learning new skills, but to take the time not always afforded me to push my work onto another level, go well beyond the ‘that’ll do’ and become a craftsman.
Happy New Year y’all…
Ok, so slowly progressing with OF, but realistically with the workload I have on at the minute its going to be October before I can really get stuck in. Have to earn the pennies to pay for the course – gulp…
The more I look into OF the more I realise that this is where I want to concentrate my efforts for my major project – 2 reasons – it will give me the flexibility and (very importantly) the performance that I’m looking for in the works that I envisage and secondly it fulfills my personal aims from the course.
In terms of content I’ve got a few things to read but have been thinking a bit more about AV content, and the most obvious relationship there is is waves – light and sound both consist of waves (well, light can be a particle as well but lets not look into this here) – how can looking at the fundamentals become building blocks for the type of performance I’m aiming for. If anyone has any reading materials to recommend for this that would be appreciated…
I’ve also been thinking about the performance / installation side of things. For me the ideal is to create a bespoke installation using multi projection and interesting surfaces, and this is what I plan to do for exhibition time, but I am also conscious of future use. The more complicated the set up the less likely the logistics can be covered at events/festivals. I’m very interested in site specific installations, mapping visuals to what is available as surfaces, and how sound can be influenced by the acoustics within a space, and as I see it there are a few ways to go with what I work towards:
1/ Stick to my guns and produce a set piece which has a bespoke spec – more like an installation
2/ Create works that are flexible enough to be adaptable for different situations
3/ Create different works for different installs
4/ Just keep it simple
Plenty to keep me going, working on the proposal right now – more to come…