digital art, web art, performance, installations, ...
poniedziałek, 07 marca 2005
I'm terribly sorry to announce that I am moving to

I am doing it only for the conveniance of people who arrive at my blog and get lost in the Polish buttons, which, as I found out, are impossible to customize.

Particular apologies to oyster, who was the only one brave enough to leave a comment, and the most common guest here!

piątek, 04 marca 2005
Our Secret

Do you have a secret? Want to share it, but remain anonymous? Want to turn your secret into art? Here is how.

There is something very appealing about this project. The incredible level of intimacy, the frankness. Although some commentators treat it more like an "interesting human experience" and don't pay that much attention to its artistic value, I think quite the opposite - the human side is here framed in a very contemporary and aesthetically appealing form. Now, it obviously depends on how the author sees it (and chooses to speak about it). If Duchamp himself hadn't seen a Fountain, there simply wasn't much you could do, was there?

czwartek, 03 marca 2005
Favourite toy

the note below comes from a nearly completely empty blog, that serves mainly as publicity for a web-page.

Found on a Public Computer

My Fovoite Toy Robote

M y favoite toy is a robote becuos it can shout misels and it can jump and it can shuot at the same time and it can run and it can tock and punch and it can kick and it can jump and shout at the same time and it can do a back flip and do a frunt flip and it can jump on a bed . my our favoite toy is a rc car becuos it can do sharp trns it can baowns up and down it can make scidmarck and it can run in to stuf and it can jump of ramp .

My comment: isn't this exactly the contrary of Laurie Anderson? This is the "what can it do" thinking. The capacity challenge: how good you are means what capacity you present. How many functions, how many add-ons, how much "stuff" you can do. I'm fascinated by this kid's note, because it puts in the clearest of ways what many people unconsciously or hypocritically dare not say: that what they like are gimmicks. Tricks. We like to be tricked. To have them do something we never could.
And that's how they become our favourite toy.

środa, 02 marca 2005
"Art is for people who...
...want to use it." - Laurie Anderson. An interesting case (not the only one) of a performance artist that goes "unplugged". Laurie Anderson gained fame making huge solo multi-media shows. She often played the electric violin, but also sang, but also projected images, mixed sounds, remixed sounds, images, lights, words... And when in the early 90's audiences started expecting more of the cutting-edge hi-tech than anything else, L.A. backlashed - and took away nearly all the technology. In 1993, Anderson said: "People expect music and high-tech visuals. I think they're rather surprised that I'm asking them to think so much instead." And in 1996, she proved her point

Has it been working? Depends on the viewer, but this one thought (and explained in a pleasant poem-style review, that could have done without the poem form...) that it wasn't not quite enough in Anderson's last (2004-2005) show, "The End of the Moon". I think it's much more difficult to "get down to basics" than it may seem. After all, it is stepping down from a comfortable position which allowed her to speek louder, to communicate in a more...overwhelming way. And when I'm overwhelmed - I'm in, am I not?

On Metroactive, there is an interesting article about her. Here are some updates on what she's been doing:

Most recently, she raised eyebrows when she did some rather unusual research for Happiness, including taking a job at McDonald's and living on an Amish farm.

"I've changed my life totally in the last year, more than I ever have in my whole life," says Anderson. "I decided to do everything outside. I was burning out on those screens, I just could not do it another second. That's why I'm doing this garden project in Japan. I'm also doing a lot of projects where I'm just walking places."

She doesn't mean walks around the block, either--she usually allows about 10 days for each one. The last walk she did was from Athens, where she had been working on a project for the Olympics, to Delphi. But it's not about the physical endurance--in typical slightly-odd-but-surprisingly-well-organized Anderson fashion, she tries to come up with a single idea and develop it over the course of one walk.

"I'm going 20 miles a day, three miles an hour--nothing. It's not to prove I can do this, because if I can't make my distance, I just call a cab. It's not like, 'Well, I marched from here to there!' It's more about trying to feel free, and trying to be free, and feel what that really is like," she says. "'Cause I honestly felt really trapped, and I think a lot of Americans do, too. You're free to what? Have a Coke or a Pepsi?"

I admire Laurie Anderson for the quiet, yet powerful way she thinks. Some examples from interviews:

Techno is music without a foreground. But that's all right. I've got plenty of things to do in the foreground.

I am more worried about turning into a schlump than into a prune [=becoming old and wrinkled].A schlump is someone who doesn't care about anything and who is just protecting their own turf, which is getting smaller and more meaningless, and then they disappear.

I like to be in groups of actual people, as opposed to their clones or their avatars or whoever they send out on the web to represent themselves.

[yes, that last one was about us, folks...]

Oh, and to give a you a hint of what sort of shows Laurie Anderson creates, here is another fairly recent review.

wtorek, 01 marca 2005
Art for people, WITH people
One thing fascinates me both in Althamer's work Bródno 2000 and in Alys's When Faith Moves Mountains. They manage to convince "normal" people to do "artistic" things, and "artistic" in the most contemporary sense, that is, one that may escape easy aesthetic judgement. There are some other good examples of that in the art world today. Soon about that.
poniedziałek, 28 lutego 2005
Paweł Althamer, a Polish, "international" artist, has his first retrospective exhibition in Warsaw, at the prestigious Zachęta (national) gallery. His works are so diverse, it is difficult to sum them up. He is perhaps best known for his ingenious installations/performances, like this one:

You guessed it, it was made in the year 2000. This is a real building, and the photo has not been retouched. Meaning - what you see is what you get. As long as you think about it - because, as often with contemporary art, you might not get much out of it if you don't want to :). For me, it is above all about one guy walking from door to door and convincing his neighbors to do something different, a little strange, crazy and seemingly useless to many of them. The building is the actual building he lives in, in a poor and ugly part of Warsaw. You can read more about the new exhibition, which contains mainly sculptures and films, at NonStarving Artists, a good fine arts site. (For the English version, scroll down or click on..."English":)).
I don't like Althamer's sculptures as much, and don't know his films at all, but I must admit they have something in them:

On the State-owned site, you can find a slightly longer Althamer biography.
Ugly and Good
1. As this blog is about art, aesthetic concerns should be important.

2. I believe Plato has had a bad influence on the development of human thought. He is to blame for many things, but one of his worst ideas was associating Beauty with Goodness and Truth. You see, Socrates only really cared about Goodness (correct me if I'm wrong). Plato, on the other hand, used Socrates' philosophy to creat one mega-idea which combined pretty much everything (ethics, aesthetics and ontology). This three-for-one all-you-can-eat concept is only fine if everything you do or stumble upon in life is beautiful, good and true. How often does that happen ?

3. That's where this blog comes in.

This blog is ugly. I hate the layout, I don't like the type of fonts, I don't like the fact that I don't have any control over what language appears on the buttons and links. I think this formula is outdated, and am disappointed with my complete designing ignorance.

This place should be as nice, as pretty, as fresh-looking as I hope its content will be.

But then, can't it be ugly and interesting at the same time? Attractive even? Don't we read books that all look pretty much the same? I mean, those are only letters! If they have something interesting to say - I'll like them, if not - who cares about the design, right?

Well, I'm not sure. After all, web pages are increasingly associated with aesthetic qualities. And with innovation. And even a blog is now receiving the same sort of judgement as an "artiste's web page". And will be criticized -and often punished by ignoring - for not being full-of-form.

The thing is - isn't it better to have content?
As in life, the question remains: if it's ugly who is going to stick around to discover it?
niedziela, 27 lutego 2005
"Today's current theatre avant-garde includes reruns of the historical avant-garde as well as the practices of formerly experimental artists whose work is by now 'classical' in terms of its predictability, solidity, and acceptance. (...) The current avant-garde offers no surprises in terms of theatrical techniques, themes, audience interactions, or anything else. (...) The current avant-garde is not only dominated by a group of oldsters (of which I am, for better or worse, one), but it is also quite clearly an established style of performance, one that in many ways is not distinguishable from orthodox theatre and dace. What innovation comes from the current avant-garde, is mostly emanating from performance art, where people are exploring such things as explicit sexual art and the combining of the extremely personal with the political." - Richard Schechner (theatre/performance theorist and practitioner)
Who cares about theatre?
"I've never really been interested in theatre as such." - Robert Lepage (theatre director, of course) (other info about Lepage here and here)
piątek, 25 lutego 2005
Another Christo alternative!
Now this is really strange... By some total coincidence, I discovered yet another take on The Gates (read previous post for explanation...):

From The Boston Globe:

"Geoff Hargadon -- Hargo, now that he's a star -- is the creator of The Somerville Gates, a micro sendup of the saffron extravaganza now in New York's Central Park. And he has become almost preposterously famous.

After he posted photos on his website of his 13-gate installation -- made from stuff he picked up at Home Depot that he glued together and painted orange -- Hargadon received more than 4 million hits, so many that he had to take it down yesterday because his Internet service was charging him for every visit. He owes thousands, he says.

Museums across the country are after him. Manhattan's Pratt Institute wants a Somerville Gate for its permanent collection. Ditto, the Browne Popular Culture Museum in Bowling Green, Ohio; the Portland Art Museum in Oregon; and Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. Someone from Tufts University invited him to display the work in a juried art show.

The Somerville Gates came into being one night while Hargadon and his wife watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on television, discussing the hype around Christo and Jeanne-Claude's $20 million-plus Gates in Central Park. They ran to the store, plunked down a total of $3.50 for supplies, and spent the evening gluing and painting. The photos they took depicted the same 13 gates arranged in settings around their Somerville loft, usually marking paths walked by his cat, Edie."

Oh, don't you just love art? :))

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This is the best book on contemporary performance in a long time...