This year while I was teaching my Theory of Artistic Practice class I tried to make a case for using research as a basis for making stuff, rather than theorizing upon finished output. From last year I already knew that the students would be quite adverse to the course’s contents – to the idea that, as artists and designers it is nowadays also expected of them they should be able to theorize upon their work and that was precisely what they were going to learn to do here. (The class is mandatory for first year graduate students, they all have to take it). Telling them that writing will help get them jobs in academia and stuff like that doesn’t really work either: They simply don’t believe you. So, I came up with this alternative that would turn research into part of the actual creative process. I think some of them caught onto this, and actually enjoyed taking the class in the end.
At some point in the semester, while I was teaching the class, I was asked to make something that I could submit to an exhibition of very small artifacts that will take place in England sometime next year, curated by my colleague Lanfranco. Which I did do. I made a tiny solar system, a virtual metaverse artifact that is so small that you cannot even properly see it since the camera starts to bounce when you zoom into it. So, far so good – it was in fact very small. I liked the way it looked also – no problems there either. What I did not like at all was that the idea of the solar system itself was very hackneyed. Read more
The words that you will read as you fly up and down this tower belong to four individuals – Bernardo Soares, Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, and Alvaro de Campos, who were the literary extensions of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935). Not only did Pessoa write under over 50 different names (of which the above-mentioned are the most prominent ones) but he claimed that these were not mere pseudonyms since it was not just their names that were different to his: Rather, they were fully fledged ‘others,’ with uniquely developed individuated personalities and appearances of their own, whom their inventor called ‘heteronyms.’ Such indeed was their disparity that Pessoa did not consider them to be ‘alternative selves,’ but rather thought of them as fully fledged others, indeed to the extent that he even created elaborate horoscopes through which he charted their individual futures independently of his own.
However playful Pessoa’s preoccupation with them may seem to be, the heteronyms were not simply a game; they were a highly intellectualized construction that occupied Pessoa’s entire adult life. They were the co-travelers of a voyage of self-discovery, or self-invention which he worded as “to pretend is to know oneself,” an existential circumnavigation that would not end until Pessoa did. ‘Pretending’ was actuated through these discrete personalities lived by the author within himself and was given expression through the poetry and prose which they authored, to which Pessoa did not claim ownership of. Read more
From the very first time that I heard it as a child I have had strong (almost gut) feelings concerning the tale of Little Red Riding Hood: I was horrified by the killing of the wolf. Inconsolable, in fact – to the point where my father had to invent a whole new ending to the story so that I would stop the tantrum that the actual tale had provoked.
So, when storyteller Heidi Dahlsveen, with whom I have collaborated on wonderful projects before, asked me to work on “the other side of the tale” of LRRH I said yes immediately*** since I saw a way of laying my old childhood demons to rest by doing so. The Companion, Heidi’s island upon which my landscape is displayed together with Soror Nishi and Cherry Manga‘s gorgeous interpretations of “the other side of the story” will open to the public in a few more days.
I am not very good with stories, and I am especially not good with ending stories, so my tale of the other side of LRRH is also without an end. (Although, I have been toying around with some kind of ending which I may yet do at the end of the show in April, if Heidi will be able to give me the extra time for that since it will mean a lot of re-building).
My problem with ending stories is that unfortunately my mind seems to only work through absurd connections that inevitably lead to further complexities; and absurd connections and complexities usually do not wrap things up, but instead leave them hanging in a most unsatisfactory manner.
My “other side of the story” favors the wolf. And here things already get quite complicated since the story starts with the wolf killing the grandmother. And then LRRH kills the wolf (or has the hunter help her do it – but the hunter is not really a major figure here, I don’t think). So, why is LRRH a monster for me – and always has been? And why isn’t the wolf so, even though he started it all by killing grandma? The wolf kills to eat, and that is what wolves do. For him grandma is “meat.” LRRH however kills for a vendetta – to mete punishment upon a creature for following his need for nourishment. Which, in my book, makes her a murderess par excellence. Whereas the wolf is just like the rest of us – merrily sitting down to his juicy steak… And I am fairly certain that I saw this distinction even when I was a small child. Read more
Note: This is a composite image that I cobbled together by taking screenshots of the stream as I scrolled down and then pasted side by side in photoshop in order to give a clearer idea of the concept. The actual page looks like a completely normal FB page, of course. ;-)
I do not know how others go about it but with me it is like this: When I make things I do not usually start out with a clearly defined objective (used to be so in the bad old days of course, when I had “real” clients, with “real” jobs and “real” briefs for whom I had to develop “real” strategies and whatnot – the nightmare of it all!…) Anyway, now that I am old and free, I usually start to do something for whatever reason and then things start to happen. I make connections that sort of evolve out of what I am doing. Read more
I love playing around with text, and yet I hardly ever have the words themselves inside my head. So, what I end up doing is use the poetry or the prose of others, or sometimes I use generative text. I have no idea why I cannot make up a tale. It seems that my mind only works in single instances that have no past or future.
Another thing is that I am very tired of words. It seems like as if all I ever do is talk. All everyone does is talk, for that matter. A global obsession with communication. Usually short sentences so that they can also fit on twitter. This I do not like. I do not want to share anything and everything in short snippets. I would, however, like to tell a long tale, if I could – which, unfortunately, I can’t.
Recently I have been very disenchanted. Still am actually. And, with this kind of deep level turn off from life, words would not work anyway, even if I had the talent to make them into a tale. Hence – asemia: