Tuesday, January 13, 2009

new things, ideas

i have quite a bit to talk about today:

as i mentioned earlier, i plan to do a lot more than just keep a blog this year. one of those things is to continue the work the collective i am part of (the inter collective) began last year. first and foremost to our installation and performance based practice is having a space to work in/within, one that is not formally a gallery or art space, and to respond to that space and the specific set of conditions it presents us. so far we have done work in a heritage-listed house, a suburban backyard, and the former Arcane bookshop in Northbridge. After a really productive and energising meeting last night, we have decided to try for access to a laneway in the city (there are plenty) for a short period of time where we can perform some kind of visual/physical/spatial intervention which alters one's experience in the laneway. so we're about to embark on the daunting task of writing a killer proposal they just can't say no to ('they' being the smarter party, who knows a winning artist collective when they see one!) without divulging too much information, we are thinking something woven out of thread. and suspended between the ground and universe, inverting the usual frontal tunnel-vision perspective one assumes in a laneway. anyway, just ideas, later in the week we will knuckle down and do some actual work on the proposal, but so envigorating to finally bash some ideas around and get excited about a project again.

i really enjoy being part of a collective while still keeping my own practice going. i feel like i can explore similar concepts through two different avenues, and the collective serves as a great support (i think to all of us) out of which it's easier to experiment with more ambitious projects and more experimental ideas, social experiments, that sort of thing.

speaking of social experiments, i acquired a new canvas bag today, which has printed on it a photograph of a plate with bread, ham, cheese, tomato, mustard and knife. it is made by a group called Art as Art Project which is a pretty switched on little group who kind of re-interpret artworks in 'tribute' to the artists. sounds naff but actually pretty cool.

anyway, this particular bag is in reference to the work of French artist Sophie Calle, who has done all sorts of crazy amazing stuff, and everybody should know about it. In the late 70s she followed people around Paris so that she didn't have to decide what to do for the day, they could decide for her. In the 90s she collaborated with author Paul Auster, who gave her instructions on how to improve life in New York: pick a place and make it beautiful. smile at everyone who walks past it, make conversation with as many people as possible, even if just about the weather, give sandwiches to people who look hungry, and give out packets of cigarettes. She recorded all these interactions, how many smiles given and received, and the amount of cigarettes and sandwiches given away or refused.

i really like this gentle kind of social-intervention-as-art, which requires the participation of others in order for the 'art' to exist, and therefore encourages a different and deeper kind of engagement with it, one that has actual, physical meaning attached to it. Sophie says something like "it may end up as fiction, but it is always life to begin with." Makes for an interesting argument about where, and exactly at what point this crossover occurs, this 'transformation', or is it possible that everything, at any time, at its very inception, can be art, begin as art? Who/what has the authority to decide something is art and something isn't.

These are pretty old questions, ones that people have been playing with for a long time now, so i won't go on, i'm already getting confused, but yeah, anyway, i got a cool new bag that will fit everything in it, and Sophie Calle is pretty great.

long post, i'll end it now! hopefully more pictures to look at in future posts.


  1. hey claire

    me like the bag! do you want to meet tonight we drove to Rockingham yesterday and i had time to write down some ideas for project, am getting excited to make lane way soft!!! Cotton mouth is on too, what do you think?

    That piece Sophie Calle did where invited people to sleep in her bed was cool.

  2. oh yeah, the Sleepers piece! i read about it, and it's pretty great. like, people were actually willing to make a sleeping 'appointment'. i thought all her work was very you actually!

    sorry i only just got this now, and piked on Cottonmouth last night :( i'm excited about laneway too, but we need to have a meeting and discuss certain issues that have since come up.. maybe sunday?