Sunday, 20 December 2009

Rikrit Tiravanija / the land foundation

In the recent Walker exhibition OPEN-ENDED (the art of engagement), curator Doryun Chong faced a challenge: how to present the Walker’s history of artist residencies and do it while engaging community in new ways. With a panel of Walker staff members from all departments, he set out to open up the gallery–literally and metaphorically–and who better to help than Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, who was a resident artist here in the mid-90s? Tiravanija recreated and modified Viennese architect Friedrich Kiesler’s Raumbhne, a spiral stage–or “space stage”–that illustrated his idea of correalism, a “theory of the endless and multidimensional correlation between the human being, the arts and the space.” Tiravanija’s “demo station” was a launchpad for a variety of activities during the run of the exhibition, from karaoke battles and a teen fashion show to performances and music events. Chong recently discussed Tiravanija’s art and the stage that became the locus of activity in this unusual and free-form show.


Rikrit Tiravanija - 'defined art as 'trend'. This trend creates art in the form of ready-made object and remixed design and locates the value of contemporary art in the usefulness of its function. This trend has more social context and social contact than art of former times.'

Mitar -Jai -in 'artist as integrating institution rather than individual.'


'But there it is, either you love or you don't.'

First Love Samuel Beckett
“Doesn’t matter how long the love lasts. You’ll be contented once you know you were in love before. Have I told you about the magnet theory?”
I shook my head.
“You’re like the North Pole of a magnet bar, and Jacky is also like the North Pole of a magnet bar. There’s no way for both of you to be close together. There’s a force that’ll always push you both apart. This force is called the obstacle, like interest differences, communication problems and etc.
“However, if you put a metal bar in between, both you magnets will stick to it. And you’ll be close to each other. That metal bar dissolves the force that psuhes both of you away. And that metal bar is what we called love.”
Extract from the book I believe youby Low Kay HwaAll Rights Reserved.Singapore :, 2005.Call Number: Y SING LOW

Dennis Oppenheim

". . .A paint medium used to draw me into the past . . . as a sensory catalyst . . . activating my reflections as a painter . . . an art student . . . during the 50s . . . I concentrate only on what is directly stimulated by the smell . . . the prevailing sense of turpentine. . ."--From the sound element of Recall DH

Carey Young after parrallel stress Dennis Oppenheim

Oppenheim turned away from using the human body to use surrogate puppets as an extension of himself, as ever altering his practice right at the point when registers of critical 'success' were imminent. In all of Oppenheim's work there is something reckless being put into action - from creating viewing platforms in the gallery to be looked from rather than at in the 60s (Viewing System for Gallery Space,1967), to arranging rocks to be thrown at himself in the 70s (Rocked Circle - Fear, 1971), building machines in the 80s to release fireworks and, in the 90s, turning his attention to the most excessive iterations of public sculpture. Other works are extraordinarily prescient of more recent practices - for example Ground Matters, 1969, used the sole of a shoe to mark out space while walking on sand - see Allora & Caldazilla - and Sterilized Surface Glass, 1969, blanked out gallery windows with white cleaning material to give the appearance of the gallery being closed - see Ryan Gander.

Lisa Le Feuvre Art Monthly

Art Enounters Deleuze & Guattari - Simon O'Sullivan

'About the encounter

Something in the world forces us to think. This something is an object not of recognition but if a fundamental encounter. (DR 139)

An objet of an encounter is fundamentally different from an object of recognition. With the latter our knowledges, beliefs and values are reconfirmed. ..An object of recognition is then precisely a representation of something always already in place. With such a non-encounter our habitual way of being and acting in the world is reaffirmed and reinforced, and as a consequence no thought takes place. Indeed, we might say that representation precisely stymies thought. With a genuine encounter however the contrary is the case. Our typical ways of being in the world are challenged, our systems of knowledge disrupted. We are forced to thought. ...It produces a cut, a crack...the rupturing encounter also contains a moment of affirmation, the affirmation of a new world, in fact a way of seeing and thinking his world differently...Life, when it is truly lived, is a history of these encounters, which will always necessarily occur beyond representation.
pg 1 Introduction

A Thousand Plateaus 'Rhizome'
A rhizome is a system, or anti-system, without centre or indeed any central organizing motif. It is a flat system in which the individual nodal points can be and are connected to one another in a non-hierarchical manner. A rhizome, then, fosters transversal connections and communications between heterogeneous locations and events. pg 12

We are, if you like, representational creatures with representational habits of thought. We inhabit an internal and an external world. We separate ourselves as subjects from the object world. Indeed, this alienated state is the very pre-condition of self-consciousness. Art mirrors back an apparently reassuring image of our own subjectivity (an outer form and an inner content).
....Importantly this is not to argue for some kind of 'return' to pre-Oedipal 'Oneness'. We are who we are and there is no use pretending that we are not essentially divorced from the world. Representation is the condition of our subjectivity and as such has to be 'gone through' as it were.'pg16
(THE CONSTANT RELATIONSHIP WITH EXTERIORITY - Pietro Fortuna from lecture at gsa nov 09)

4. Principle of asignifying rupture: against the oversignifying breaks seperating structures or cutting across a single structure. A rhizome may be broken, shatterted at a given spot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines...Every rhizome contains lines of segmentarity according to which it is stratified, territorialized, signified, attributed, etc., as well as lines of deterritorialization down which it constantly flees. (ATP 9) p32


'...the affective side of the art experience. Affect here is understood , via Deleuze-Spinoza, as the effect a given object or practice has on the beholder, and on its beholders 'becomings'. Important here is also what we might call that 'affective-gap' or 'hesitancy' as Henri Bergson understood it, between stimulus and response, which in itself allows ceativity to arise. A third moment is provided by both Georges Bataille and Jean-Francois Lyotard each of whom in their own way see art as a form of affective, or ritual practice that accesses a realm beyond the known. In each case affect is to do with the body and with thought, and with that wat body-thought is capable of.'pg39

' is precisley antithetical to knowledge, if by knowledge we understood the accretion of information about 'reality' as we typically experience it. It is in this sense that artworks against what Lyotard once called 'the fantasies of realism' (1984,74) This amounts to saying that art might be a part of the world ...but at the same time it is apart from the world, and this 'apartness', however it is theorised, is what constitutes arts importance and its specifity as art. ...the world here understood as the sum total of potentialities of which our typical experience is merely an extraction.' p40

the gap between action and reaction -
'For Bergson it is the brain, inderstood as complex matter, which opens up this gap. The brain functions as an exchange system, recieving sensations and producing reactions, and yet because of its interval is opened up between excitation and reaction. It is into this interval that memory,understood as the pure past, enters and as such the possibility of circumnavigating typical responses - of creatively responding to the world. We might say that this is the defintion of freedom, a disinterestedness which allows access to something bigger, more expansive, than one's self. It is in this gap then that genuine events emerge. In fact, Bergson goes further, and, as Deleuze points out in Bergsonism, extends this principle to society's organisation, and to the possibility of creative emotion within the latter (precisley as a liberation from habit). Another name for this creative emotion might be revolutionary potential, inasmuch as it is this 'pure memory' that liberates us from our present plane of experience:

The little interval 'between the pressure of society and the resistance of intelligence' defines a variability appropriate to human societies. Now, by means of this interval, something extraordinary is produced or embodied: creative emotion. This no longer has anything to do with the pressures of society, nor with the disputes of the individual who contests or even invents, nor with a society that constrains, that persuades or even tells stories. It has only made of their circular play in order to break the circle, just as Memory uses the circular play of excitation and reaction to embody recollection in images. And what is this creative emotion, if not precisely a cosmic Memory that Actualises all the levels at the same time, that liberates man from the plan (plan) or the level that is proper to him, in order to make him a creator, adequate to the whole movement of creation. (B 111)
For Bergson, ultimately it is the mystic who embodies this creative emotion, but art has a role to play too. In fact, art, understood here as fabulation, is a kind of platform. It allows for a 'slowing down' ....which prepares the ground for the arising of creative emotion. p46-47
'...we only 'see' what we have already seen. We only see that which we are interested in.'pg47


Gregory Colbert - Ashes and Snow
A sixteen year nomadic traveling exhibition

Coversations Before the End of Time - Suzi Gablik


Rembrandt - Faust

How do we experience discovery today? The vulnerable solid cold clumsy physical discovery, encounter / the mental encounter


Oswald Spengler - The Decline of the West ('West'A work which persuasively argues that Western civilisation's overweening urge to exploit the resources of the entire earth and beyond makes Faust the central myth of our culture.John Churcher comment on radio 4)
The African Artists Foundation AAF, adopting the theme ‘In Pursuit of Knowledge’, featured three artists: Gerald Chukwuma, Emmanuel Dudu, and Ike Francis in an exhibition which ran from June 26 to 29.

Lubaina Himid

Lubaina Himid
The title for this project was 40 days and 40 nights and I imagined my paintings being part of a huge display of toy Noah's arks borrowed from
collections all over the world in a show which may have included arks owned by tzars, presidents, popes, movie stars and mad academics. I
envisaged a massive painted wooden ark leaning casually against the Bowes Museum which was to have been made by a Newcastle theatre
company's scenery department, designed by me for children to play on, plus as a surprise for the opening evening, there was to be a slide show
of weird and amazing boat buildings projected massively on the front of the museum, a sort of son et lumiere, my favourite kind of outdoor
entertainment. It is clear however that I have reluctantly and yet eventually adapted some wild dreams. That I then decided to turn these ideas for
spectacle into a deeper and longer lasting visual conversation between four artists with far reaching and yet oddly parallel vision has been even
more exciting.
Museums promise much and can deliver in the most eccentric and extraordinary manner. Artists are usually ready for this.

In this particular set of painted juxtapositions of buildings and boats there is a clash between the zones of safety and danger, of stillness and
movement and of the living and the dead, they join together in order to mix memory with strategy.
The paintings and drawings of arks map the mixing and mis-matching which takes place during the process of creative research. This then
enables a display of the maximum number of possiblities, which is often deeply embedded in the debates around how the visual experiencing of
objects can develop and opens out the probability of a vista of yet more visualising. In other words the more you look, the more you see and the
more able you are to see other ways of seeing, other ways of working and other ways of making things to see.



Cornelia Parker

The Maybe with Tilda Swinton

A Strange Alchemy: Cornelia Parker
Interview with Lisa Tickner

CP: 'I felt - naivley - that art was something without rues, but of ocurse you impose your own. It was good to create my own parameters within which to explore anything that interested me in life. The work was a kind of waste product if that. I never saw it as being a sort of pinnacle, it was almost something I shed.'
'I was also very interested in Edward De Bono's book Lateral Thinking, which I read when I was 18. He talks about holes. He says that to be an expert you have to dig a very deep hol, but that if you do that it's difficult to get out of it and look around; to dig a different hole would be almost impossible for an expert. Thinking laterally means thinking creatively, rather than just learning the conents of an existing hole. So you dig lots of holes that could become connected and that way you might discover something new.'
LT:'...according to the psychoanalysies of Melanie Klein, we all go through infant phases of fantasized attatck and remorseful reparation (and since, in the Kleinian iew, reparation is the basis of artistic activity), the paradox isnt a paradox at all (in reference to destructive process and the graceful delicate nature of Parkers work). Art is always making something out of nothing
. ...It's exhilirating to identify with acts of detruction at a safe distance from guilt and harm, and it's gratifying to share in the fantasy in the process of reparation by which damagae is made good.'

Cold Dark Matter


see also

Friday, 18 December 2009

CLUI - Center For Land Use Interpretation

Dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation's lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived.
The Center for Land Use Interpretation is a research organization interested in understanding the nature and extent of human interaction with the earth's surface. The Center embraces a multidisciplinary approach to fulfilling the stated mission, employing conventional research and information processing methodology as well as nontraditional interpretive tools.
The organization was founded in 1994, and since that time it has produced over 30 exhibits on land use themes and regions, for public institutions all over the United States, as well as overseas. Public tours have been conducted in several states, and over ten books have been published by the CLUI. CLUI Archive photographs illustrate journals, popular magazines, and books by other publishers, and have been used in non-CLUI exhibitions, and acquired by art collectors.
The CLUI exists to stimulate discussion, thought, and general interest in the contemporary landscape. Neither an environmental group nor an industry affiliated organization, the work of the Center integrates the many approaches to land use - the many perspectives of the landscape - into a single vision that illustrates the common ground in "land use" debates. At the very least, the Center attempts to emphasize the multiplicity of points of view regarding the utilization of terrestrial and geographic resources.

Meaningless Work - Walter De Maria

Meaningless work is obviously the most important and significant art form today. The aesthetic feeling given by meaningless work can not be described exactly because it varies with each individual doing the work. Meaningless work is honest. Meaningless work will be enjoyed and hated by intellectuals - though they should understand it. Meaningless work can not be sold in art galleries or win prizes in museums - though old fasion records of meaningless work (most all paintings) do partake in these indignities. Like ordinary work, meaningless work can make you sweat if you do it long enough. By meaningless work I simply mean work which does not make money or accomplish a conventional purpose. For instance putting wooden blocks from one box to another, then putting them back to the original box, back and forth, back and forth etc., is a fine example of meaningless work. Or digging a hole, then covering it is another example. Filing letters in a filing cabinet could be considered meaningless work, only if one were not considered a secretary, and if one scattered the file on the floor periodically so that one didn't get any feeling of accomplishment. Digging in the garden is not meaningless work. Weight lifting, though monotonous, is not meaningless work in its aesthetic since because it will give you muscles and you know it. Caution should be taken that the work chosen should not be too pleasurable, lest pleasure becomes the purpose of the work. Hence, sex, though rhythmix, can not stictly be called meaningless - though I'm sure many people consider it so.
Meaningless work is potentially the most abstract, concrete, individual, foolish, indeterminate, exactly determined, varied, important art-action-experience one can undertake today. This concept is not a joke. Try some meaningless work in the privacy of your own room. In fact, to be fully understood, meaningless work should be done alone or else it becomes entertainment for others and the reaction or lack of reaction of the art lover to the meaningless work can not honestly be felt.
Meaningless work can contan all of the best qualities of old art forms such as painting, writing, etc. It can make you feel and think about yourself, the outside world, morality, reality, unconsciousness, nature, history, time, philosophy, nothing at all, politics, etc. without the limitations of the old art forms.
Meaningless work is individual in nature and it can be done in any form and over any span of time - from one second up to the limits of exhaustion. It can be done fast or slow or both. Rhythmically or not. It can be done anywhere in any weather conditions. Clothing, if any, is left to the individual. Whether the meaningless work, as an art form, is meaningless, in the ordinary sense of that term, is of course up to the individual. Meaningless work is the new way to tell who is square.GruntGet to work
March, 1960.

The Fluxus movement emerged in New York in the 60's, moving to Europe, and eventually to Japan. The movement encompassed a new aesthetic that had already appeared on three continents. That aesthetic encompasses a reductive gesturality, part Dada, part Bauhaus and part Zen, and presumes that all media and all artistic disciplines are fair game for combination and fusion. Fluxus presaged avant-garde developments over the last 40 years.
Fluxus objects and performances are characterized by minimalist but often expansive gestures based in scientific, philosophical, sociological, or other extra-artistic ideas and leavened with burlesque.
This is an excerpt from a January 1966 lecture that Yoko Ono gave at Wesleyan University. Quoted in Lucy Lippard's Six Years: the Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972.
"All of my work in fields other than music have an Event bent ... event, to me, is not an assimilation of all the other arts as Happening seems to be, but an extrication from various sensory perceptions. It is not a get togetherness as most happenings are, but a dealing with oneself. Also it has no script as Happenings do, though it has something that starts it moving- the closest word for it may be a wish or hope ... After unblocking one's mind, by dispensing with visual, auditory and kinetic perception, what will come out of us? Would there be anything? And my events are mostly spent in wonderment ... We never experience things seperately ... but if that is so, it is all the more reason and challenge to create a sensory experience isolated from other sensory experiences, which is something rare in daily life. Art is not merely a duplication of life ... Among my instructions paintings, my interest is mainly in "painting to construct in your head" ... the movement if the molecule can be continuum and discontinuum at the same time ... There is no visual object that does not exist in comparison to or simultaneously with other objects, but these characteristics can be eliminated if you wish ... The painting method derives as far back as the time of the Second World War, when we had no food to eat, and my brother and I exchanged menus in the air."

Yves Klein

Yves Klein or The Dead Dealer Thierry De Duve

“Having rejected nothingness, I discovered the void. The meaning of the immaterial pictorial zones, extracted from the depth of the void which by that time was of a very material order. Finding it unacceptable to sell these immaterial zones for money, I insisted in exchange for the highest quality of the immaterial, the highest quality of material payment — a bar of pure gold. Incredible as it may seem, I have actually sold a number of these pictorial immaterial states . . . Painting no longer appeared to me to be functionally related to the gaze, since during the blue monochrome period of 1957 I became aware of what I called the pictorial sensibility. This pictorial sensibility exists beyond our being and yet belongs in our sphere. We hold no right of possession over life itself. It is only by the intermediary of our taking possession of sensibility that we are able to purchase life. Sensibility enables us to pursue life to the level of its base material manifestations, in the exchange and barter that are the universe of space, the immense totality of nature.” Yves Klein, from the Chelsea Hotel Manifesto, 1961 [15]

Zone de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle (Zone of immaterial pictorial sensibility) is an artist's book and performance by the french artist Yves Klein. The work involved the sale of documentation of ownership of empty space (the Immaterial Zone), taking the form of a cheque, in exchange for gold; if the buyer wished, the piece could then be completed in an elaborate ritual in which the buyer would burn the cheque, and Klein would throw half of the gold into the Seine [1]. The ritual would be performed in the presence of an art critic or distinguished dealer, an art museum director and at least two witnesses [1].

Reception of the Work
The French press delighted in calling the event 'a scandal' (Klein Sells Wind!), but others were more impressed; [1] Various members of the group present to watch Michael Blankfort's ritual transaction, for instance, on February 10th 1962, concurred that the event was 'extremely awe-inspiring' [1], ending with the noonday chimes ringing out from churches all around Paris. Blankfort, a Hollywood writer, wrote later of having "no other experience in art equal to the depth of feeling of [the sale ceremony]. It evoked in me a shock of self-recognition and an explosion of awareness of time and space." [16]
It has been suggested that the work is a response to Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction [17], in which he wrote “The unique value of the ‘authentic’ work of art has its basis in ritual, the location of its original use value.” [18] If so, the Zones directly refute Benjamin's central argument, that modern mass production can finally "emancipate the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual" [18].
"Believe me, one is not robbed when one buys such paintings; it is I who am always robbed because I accept money." Yves Klein

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Shingu and Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Art & Ecology:

Perspectives and Issues

Ecological Restoration

Mierle Ukeles, Flow City

by Don Krug

The art of Mierle Laderman Ukeles is about the everyday routines of life. In 1969, after the birth of her first child, Ukeles wrote a Manifesto for Maintenance Art that questioned binary systems of opposition that articulate differences between art/life, nature/culture, and public/private. The manifesto proposed undoing boundaries that separate the maintenance of everyday life from the role of an artist in society. Ukeles was interested in how the concept of transference could be used by artists to empower people to act as agents of change to stimulate positive community involvement toward ecological sustainability.

In the 1960s, Ukeles completed an undergraduate degree in history and international studies from Barnard and studied visual arts at Pratt Institute in New York. Ukeles' work at this time was experimental, and visually and symbolically conveyed social unrest associated with events such as the women's movement and the Vietnam War. Ukeles became increasingly restless about the separation of the artist in society from everyday activities like child care, household work, and other routine labor practices that she felt should be reinterpreted within the contexts of personal and political aesthetic values. Ukeles stated, "Avant-garde art, which claims utter development, is infected by strains of maintenance ideas, maintenance activities, and maintenance materials. . . . I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. (Random order.) I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc. Also, (up to now separately) I 'do' Art. Now I will simply do these everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art." (Ukeles, 1969)

Mierle Laderman Ukeles' most recent work synthesizes art and life within the contexts of social, political, environmental, and feminist theory. Patricia Phillips (1995) points out, "The artist's own family dynamics and personal observations underlie the authenticity of her inherently public work, which seems a more effective way to respond to cataclysmic, unanticipated shifts. In fact, this by-play of private-public, the mixing and merging of formerly oppositional designations, has stimulated a wider reconsideration of institutional systems while supporting a process of feminization in the public realm, animating the popular slogan 'The personal is political.'" (p.169)

Ukeles' work is created through a process of participatory democracy that unites people in open dialogue about the characteristics of important community ecological issues. I Make Maintenance Art One Hour Every Day (1976) was a performance/project exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ukeles collaborated with 300 hundred maintenance staff at a bank in Manhattan. She took Polaroid photographs of men and women doing routine jobs and asked them to discuss their labor as either art or work. Jobs were often discussed by the same person, at different times, in different ways. Later, she exhibited the workers' narrative statements alongside pictures of their daily chores. She asked viewers to challenge the social constructions of aesthetic and cultural values that define what work and art mean.

Similar forms of juxtaposition that challenge definitions of art as separated from life can be seen in other works by Ukeles such as Cleaning the Mummy Case, Keeping of the Keys, and Wash. Ukeles believes that positive social change can occur through the direct interaction of art and life. Art can create a climate for change. Ukeles writes, "Art can give us new air to breathe." (Phillips, 1995)

In 1976, Ukeles accepted an unsalaried position as artist-in-residence with the New York City Department of Sanitation. She proposed to do work that would incorporate dialogue, community participation around life-centered issues, and ecological sustainability. Ukeles focused her creative energies on a series of long term projects: Touch Sanitation (1978-1984); Flow City (1983-current); and Fresh Kills Landfill and Sanitation Garage (1989-present). These projects provided visitors with points of access to issues of urban waste management.

Touch Sanitation was Ukeles' first project as the city's new artist-in-residence. She drew attention to the maintenance of urban ecological systems in general and the use of pejorative language to represent "garbage men" in particular. Ukeles traveled sections of New York City to shake the hands of over 8500 sanitation employees or "sanmen" during a year-long performance. She documented her activities on a map, meticulously recording her conversations with the workers. Ukeles documented the workers' private stories, fears, castigations, and public humiliations in an attempt to change some of the negative vernacular words used in the public sphere of society. In this way, Ukeles used her art as an agent of change to challenge conventional language stereotypes.

Flow City is another example of how Ukeles addresses issues of positive social change through her art. At the 59th Street Marine Transfer Station, Ukeles constructed Flow City as a point of public access to the reconceptualization of urban ecological systems. Phillips (1995) writes, "Using the culture of sanitation work as an allegory of global environmental management, the project reflects Ukeles' commitment to bring citizens to a visceral, participatory experience of the scale and issues of solid-waste management in New York City. As always, the social, political, and environmental issues are inextricably connected." (p.185-187)

In New York, a marine transfer station is where garbage is loaded onto barges prior to being transported to and dumped in a landfill. Ukeles constructed this visitor center as a way for people to view the transference of used and recyclable material and the labor of everyday maintenance workers. She constructed a space with three separate views of city life and urban ecology. Facing east was a beautiful panoramic representation of the city; to the west was a picture of large barges filled with trash and urban waste; and to the south was a bank of video monitors. Scientists, ecologists, artists, and others were invited to contribute information for video displays to help educate people about ecological urban issues. These three perspectives provided a range of views for visitors to see and question everyday consumer choices and to learn more about the consequences of their lifestyle on creating a healthy environment in the future.

The artist used education as a powerful tool to engage community members in active learning processes. Community involvement and affirmation are at the heart of Ukeles' art work. Phillips (1995) states "By creating a point of access, Ukeles enables members of the public to make more incisive connections with the physical dimensions of their urban and natural worlds. Both the city and the river are seen as relational; Flow City serves as the suture that draws the extremes of the natural-culture dialectic into visible coexistence." (p.188)


  • How does Ukeles use people's stories or oral history as an artistic method of inquiry?
  • How does Ukeles question social categories that define as opposites such terms as personal and political, nature and culture, art and life?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of questioning systems of opposition that are part of everyday language systems?
  • Can the direct experiences of sanitation activities create a sense of responsibility and affirmation in community residents?
  • What new forms of interpretation can the opportunity for observation provide in a sanitation visiting center?


Phillips, P. (1995). "Maintenance Activity: Creating a climate for change." In Nina Felshin (Ed.). But Is It Art: The Spirit of Art as Activism. (pp. 165-193). Seattle, WA: Bay Press.

Lacy, L. (Ed.). (1996). Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. Seattle, WA: Bay Press.

Oakes, B. (1995). Sculpting with the Environment: A Natural Dialogue. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Martin Creed

João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva

Callum Bell Sleep Shed

'It's natural to behave irrationaly' Washington Post

It's natural to behave irrationally
Climate change is just the latest problem that people acknowledge but ignore

A television ad shows wildlife calling senators about climate change. The message: People should call, too. (World Wildlife Fund)
By David A. FahrentholdWashington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, December 8, 2009
To a psychologist, climate change looks as if it was designed to be ignored.
It is a global problem, with no obvious villains and no one-step solutions, whose worst effects seem as if they'll befall somebody else at some other time. In short, if someone set out to draw up a problem that people would not care about, one expert on human behavior said, it would look exactly like climate change.
That's the upshot of a spate of new research that tries to explain stalled U.S. efforts to combat greenhouse-gas emissions by putting the country on the couch.
Polls -- including one last month -- indicate that a sizable, though shrinking, number of Americans believe climate change is happening. Most of those people think it is a "serious" problem. So, rationally, shouldn't they be doing more to fight it?
The problem, many psychologists say, is the "rationally."
Those who are concerned that a real problem is being left unaddressed have called for a change in the way that green groups talk about climate, which has traditionally been heavy on warnings about drought and stranded polar bears. Instead, researchers suggested a new set of back-door appeals, designed essentially to fool people into serving their own -- and the planet's -- best interests.
"We are collectively irrational, in the sense that we should really care about the long-term well-being of the planet but when we get up in the morning it's very hard to motivate ourselves," said Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, who gave a keynote speech last month at a Washington conference devoted to understanding why people don't do more to save energy.
Psychologists studying the issue say that the now-familiar warnings about climate change kick at emotional dead spots in all human brains -- but especially in American brains. Researchers have only theories to explain why people in the United States have done less than those in such places as Europe and Japan. Some think Americans are culturally leery of programs the government might develop to target climate change, trusting instead that the free market will solve major problems.
One U.S. researcher thought television is to blame: All those TV ads have made Americans more focused on their own wants, she theorized, and less likely to care about the long-term good.
No matter where the public's complacency springs from, psychologists have seen this kind of thing before, Ariely said: "That's why we don't exercise, and we overeat, and we bite our fingernails. . . . It's not something where we're going to overcome human nature."
Last month, shortly before Monday's start of an international conference on climate change, the United States and China made pledges to work on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. But even these underscored the point that much more remains to be done: The United States offered to cut emissions less than environmentalists say it needs to; China offered to cut in ways it was planning to anyway.
Obstacles to progress
The obstacles to progress -- internationally and in the U.S. Senate, where a climate bill is stalled -- aren't just mental. Climate change is a policy problem that has "psychological distance": In layman's terms, there's a sense that this is a problem for somebody else or some other time.
Although researchers say the climate is, in fact, already shifting, psychologists say many Americans still don't feel close to the issue. And though scientists say that change is unequivocal, the science can be confusing: It is complex, and vocal skeptics are still saying the evidence is not at all conclusive.
Another problem with climate change is called, more obscurely, "system justification." This refers to humankind's deep-seated love for the status quo and willingness to defend it.
This is why climate change isn't like the hole in the ozone layer: In that crisis, the solution was to substitute new chemicals for old ones, and the changes happened mainly inside refrigerator coils and spray cans. In this one, they could alter basic things about modern life, everything from light bulbs to cars to air travel.
A third problem is that psychologists say humans can fret about only so many things at once -- the technical term is the "finite pool of worry."
The proof of that might be found in last month's Washington Post-ABC News poll, which showed that belief in climate change had actually fallen 13 percentage points since 2006, from 85 percent to 72. It could be that new worries such as lost jobs and swine flu crowded old ones out of the pool.
Psychological researchers say one possible way to overcome all these obstacles is to frame the changes needed to curb carbon emissions as "saving" the American way of life, instead of changing it. Another is to pair warnings about the climate with concrete suggestions about what to do, so people can act instead of just stewing in worry.
Another is to tap into two powerful human impulses: to be like one's neighbors and then to beat them at something.
Call in the elephants
In one small study around San Diego in 2007, researchers hung four fliers on doorknobs. One told homeowners that they should conserve energy because it helped the environment. One said saving energy was socially responsible. One said that it saved money. The fourth said that the majority of neighbors in the community were doing it.
The researchers waited and then read the meters. The houses with the fourth flier showed the most change.
"Simply urging people -- or telling them that it's a good idea to recycle or conserve energy -- is the same as nothing," said Robert Cialdini, a professor at Arizona State University who worked on the study.
One of those listening to the psychologists is Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who introduced a bill calling on the Department of Energy to study "social and behavioral factors" that affect energy use. It passed a House committee, though Baird said some Republicans called it "mind control." "These [ideas] can all be met with derision until you try it," Baird said.
For now, however, some psychologists say they're frustrated that their ideas seem to have been picked up only unevenly by environmental groups.
For instance, an ad campaign running in the United States and 34 other countries calls for progress at international climate talks in Copenhagen using a play on the city's name: It becomes "Hopenhagen." The ads' strategy was devised by the firm Ogilvy & Mather, where an executive said they, also, wanted to leave behind gloomy messages about the climate.
But Janet Swim, a professor at Pennsylvania State University who led an American Psychological Association study of climate change messages, said something was missing. "What is a person supposed to do after seeing the message?" she wrote after seeing one video ad.
Another new ad, from the World Wildlife Fund, shows an elephant, birds and other wildlife dialing U.S. senators' offices. "So who will call to speak up for those who have no voice?" the narrator asks.
Better, Swim said. The commercial gives a concrete order: Call your senator. But, she said, it might communicate a "norm of inaction" by implying that no actual people are calling now.
The best example of climate psychology in action might be programs run by the Arlington energy efficiency software company Opower. In 12 areas around the country, the firm sends mailings to utility customers. The sheets compare each customer's power usage to that of neighbors with similar houses and offer tips for catching up, such as turning off lights and lowering the temperature settings of water heaters.
It works, the company says, lowering electricity usage by 2 percent in several test cases. The fliers never say a word about climate change. '

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Scupture at Grays

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Exhibtions Past/Present

The Russian Linesman

Anish Kapoor

“I have often said that I have nothing to say as an artist. Having something to say implies that one is struggling with meaning. The role of the artist is in fact that we don’t know what to say, and it is that not knowing that leads to the work.”
anish kapoor (california college of the arts)
Americana: 50 States, 50 Months, 50 Exhibitions
Round 1: Daria Martin / Alexandre da Cunha / Ryan Gander / Shana Lutker / Tim Lee / Annette Kelm / João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva / Ulla von Brandenburg / Gareth Moore / Roman Ondák / Valérie Mréjen / Federico Herrero
Passengers is a permanent but constantly transforming exhibition of emerging international contemporary artists, none of whom have ever had a solo presentation in an American public art institution. The gallery is divided into two separate spaces, one of which features a group show of 11 artists, and the other a solo exhibition. At the end of each month, the solo artist will leave the exhibition completely, an artist from the group show will move into the solo space, and a new artist will be introduced into the group show. By September 2008 the group portion will have changed entirely from its original incarnation in September 2007.
The novel format of Passengers offers a new concept for exhibition making. It is part of a shift in programming at the Wattis that attempts to rethink the traditional ways in which art institutions organize exhibitions—as static presentations lasting several weeks or months—and to reevaluate the ideas of time and transformation with respect to exhibition practice. Over the coming years, the Wattis is also presenting a permanent exhibition featuring the artist Tino Sehgal, which will eventually include all of Sehgal's works to date presented one after the other, as well as Americana: 50 States, 50 Months, 50 Exhibitions, which runs through 2012.
Passengers is specifically designed to allow emerging artists to enter the Wattis Institute program quickly, and the exhibition will adapt according to developments in contemporary art practice. Its title is inspired by the way in which many artists and curators, working in a globalized world, pass through places and become witnesses of our time. Passengers now forms part of this journey, functioning as a vehicle by which artists can come to San Francisco. In this first year they will be visiting from countries as diverse as Portugal, Brazil, Slovakia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Costa Rica as well as the United States—before moving on.
Jens Hoffmann

Giuseppe Penone

The Arctic Circle, NY

The Arctic Circle

The Artic Circle is a nexus where art intersects science, architecture, and activisim - an incubator for thought and experimentation for artists and innovators who seek out and foster areas of collaboration to engage in the central issues of our time.


Sarah Anne Johnson


Laundry Room

Tent At Night

Tree Planting Project - Morning Meeting

Also see Ian Burns

'Canadian artist Sarah Anne Johnson completed her MFA at Yale in 2004 with a thesis project entitled "Tree Planting." This ambitious installation formed a record of her summers spent in northern Canada engaged in the collective activity of reforesting as a way of earning money and having a communal experience. For her art, she combines straight photographs with photographs recording "tableaux" made from sculptural figures set in the landscape. These vignettes extend the images beyond just what she was able to record to what she remembers both visually and emotionally.
In an extended project based on ecological volunteer tourism in the Galapagos Islands (financed partially by a grant from Yale) she continued the themes of idealism and nature, and has expanded the mediums in which she works to include painting and sculpture.Johnson's work is featured in many museum collections including the Guggenheim Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Canada. To learn more about the work of Sarah Anne Johnson please visit '

Mark Dion

The End Of The Line - Fruitmarket Gallery Drawing Exhibition

Naoyuki Tsuji

Michael Borremans

The World As A Stage