|Sydney. Coming into focus. Slowly.|
I have been invited by the University of Newcastle, Australia, as a Visiting Professor to undertake a residency ( http://www.thelockup.org.au/whats-on ) at The Lock-Up Culture Centre. Working closely ( as closely as one can in the digital realm ) with Andrew Bracey in the UK, I will be developing the first incarnation of the midpointness project for a short exhibition at the Lock Up followed by presenting the key note at the two day conference;
NEXT TO NOTHING: ART AS PERFORMANCE
A meeting of art and philosophy in the age of post-dematerialisation
September 26 & 27, 2015
We already have great support from some wonderful artists, including Olivia Notaru, Hester Reeve, David Reed, Simòn Grenell, Lee Hassall, Lily Mellor and Kate Southworth not to mention the amazing Sean Lowry from the University of Newcastle. Thanks to them for their enthusiasm on such a low budget. I consider this the prototype and look for financial support when I get back to the UK. If any galleries or project spaces out there are interested in the project please get in touch!
Steve “I was just thinking about what you said about decisions, that elements of the painting seemed to be always poised either just before or just beyond a decision. I think that's really important, but it's also about the decisions of the 'viewer'. I’m sort of hoping that the paintings are a bit like scores, which are 'performed' in the head each time they are seen or read.”
Andrew “It's something I’m interested in exploring, so art works becomes mid points in a generative process of creation…”
Steve “I think it's always a mid point. It's the mid-pointness, which makes it interesting. Like a good work is always becoming”
Andrew “Exactly...but a show that tries to explore this as a part of a process(ing)/generating could be good”
Steve “ and again that’s really been on my mind. Its not just about the artefact but about the tactics and strategies which are at work within it. I’ve been thinking around what might an institution which thought of itself as a work of art look and behave like? What if some thing which is usually other to the work of art considered itself from front to back, top to bottom, side to side, not solely in terms of production, capital and quantitative outcomes, but as an aesthetic entity in itself? An entity which judged itself as a process of becoming in much the same way as a process of art making, subject to the same critical analysis and re-thinking that might be applied to a process of making and engaging in art? At what point in that imaginative process does the institution become a work in itself? ”
Andrew “an institution always at a mid-point?”
Steve “ the work as a performance”
Andrew “and the institution as a performance…”
Midpointness is a proposal for an evolving project that explores how works of art and work can be seen to be in a state of ‘being in the midst’, a place W. T. J. Mitchell has termed an “inescapable zone of transaction”. We propose to put focus onto the ‘work’ of knowledge as a process of becoming, as opposed to a process of advancement. The initial premise grew from conversation on 3rd February 2015 between Andrew and I in front of one of my text-paintings which reads;
The work is a score performed in the mind.
The world is a work performed in the words
The mind is a work performed in the world
Let us consider the work of art is here is to be understood as art’s labour and the process of becoming and to some extent performing, as much as an artefact as of and in itself. This proposal seeks to foreground the dynamics of inner/outer dialogue and other potentials that an artist might hope for when he/she explores the generative potential of the work of art.
Our aim is the curatorial equivalent of lifting the footnote to the status of the main body of text (and possibly vice versa). The methodology for the exhibition/project envisions a ‘toing and froing’ position between authorship and reception. The proposal suggests that the ‘centre’ (the work and/or the text) and its surrounding universe are completely indivisible. As such the principle of footnotes will filter through to the whole project, with visual and textual ‘footnotes’ infiltrating the exhibition’s ethos and design; the footnotes being analogous to the surrounding constellations within which the ‘centre’ sits, swapping footnotes for centre and vice versa.
We propose a generative project which over time gets dismantled and reconstructed/imagined by the gradual accretion and classifying of the surrounding connections, associations, influences of the curators, artists, students and other audiences. These can be in the form of artworks, texts, artefacts, performances or other interventions. We are identifying the surrounding ‘stuff’ of the ‘work’ as an equivalent to the footnotes of a text.
We will curate different events which will punctuate and inform the future shape and display of the project. The dialogue generated from these discussions, readings, film screenings etc. will effect, inform and direct the focus of the classifying of the 'footnotes’ and the generation of new ones. Using a cosmic model the ‘footnotes’ for the works in the exhibition will be classified and presented by different shifting, signalling systems of measurement and value such as near and far, small and large, bold and faint, how big, how dense, how inscribed, how intense, rather than by any chronological teleology.
A non-fixed classification process is defined through dialogue, events, conversations, catalysts. Participants occupy the process and thus the outcome is a necessary outcome of being generative as opposed to being worked out prior.
The time-plan is a considerable part of the project and will constitute a work of practice in itself. The time plan is imagined as a SCORE which will be created during the residency period.
I'll try to keep a blog going during the process as things come and go.