Selected text-based and theoretical research for the works produced in 2021-2022.
(Personal comments and reflection are in red)
On Vision, Materials and Bataille
“Material elements, they perform as well as signs; they inform each other mutually, elect each other, choose each other, reflect each other, repel each other, like the codes of the living combine … They encode, we encode; they count, we count; we speak, they speak. Knowledge is thus the ability to listen and to translate the scattered languages of things.”
Matteo Pasquinelli, ‘On Solar Databases and the Exogenesis of Light’, e-flux journal #65 SUPERCOMMUNITY, August 2015
Very influential article which refers to Bataille, Serres and the dynamics of vision. Makes a key distinction between the naked eye and the computational eye, and the abstractions which can occur when seeing through these structures. It identifies light as having a conceptual ‘architecture’. That is a thread I have tried to follow in my studio practice- in particular the way in which Pasquinelli re-phrases the idea of the sun’s abstraction, drawing Bataille into contemporary mechanics of vision
Y. A. Bois and Rosalind Kraus, 'Formless: A User's Guide'
(MIT Press, 1997)
"...a spreading of liquids comes without texture or form, and thus a muddier ontological beginning..."
"...liquefaction implies entropy..."
Chapter: Liquid Words, Yve-Alain Bois
Thinking about liquids being different from constructed materials because they don't have such a strict form. Esther Leslie talks about the dynamics of this too. Makes me think about gas, an evaporated liquid...how that takes up space but is not constructed, cannot have a form in that strict sense.
Evaporation and liquefaction are processes that imply time, are related to tenses...
On Trisha Donnelly, Image-making, Legibility:
But despite exercising its right to remain silent, gregariously flirting with the irrational, and reveling in illegibility, art is still plagued with making sense in what is less a forest of signs and more a semiotic jungle as any and all things may assume a meaning no longer reserved for the more traditional work of art. Tell me why the ivy twines? As if Trisha Donnelly’s art needs a reason. Like ivy, Donnelly’s work is as it does. Now that art is no longer a privileged site of meaning, Donnelly is as free as the squirrels to produce art whose justification would be its mere existence.
Calling hers a ‘body’ of work is almost claiming too much coherence for a highly heterogeneous output that includes drawings, photographs, audio works, sculptures...Although it is tempting to cast her as the consummate post medium artist, in her case that is already an over-determined category, for Donnelly genuinely has no medium. If anything she is a pre-medium artist, where “medium” could just as soon refer to a psychic.
Author: Hamza Walker on Trisha Donnelly, (February 24 - April 06, 2008 ) 'As Free As the Squirrels'
How to toe the line between illegibility and mystery???
On Structuralist Film
Part one of Peter Gidal's introductory essay to the Structural Film Anthology, Published by the BFi in 1976.
"Structural/ Materialist film attempts to be non-illusionist. The process of the film's making deals with devices that result in demystification or attempted demystification of the film process."
'non-illusionist'... can technology ever really be non illusionist though? That's what I keep tripping up on. Going back to Benjamin Noyes and the design of machines at IBM to be deliberately secretive, it's difficult to think about a world in which technology is transparent, non-illusionist, doesn't confound. I think I want it to confound me!
in 'Writings 1973-1983 On Works 1969-1979'
"...The work was itself isolated from the museum, yet functioned by simultaneously integrating the sound and light produced within the museum. Once these sounds had entered the work, they weere structured on a diagonal axis and were ultimately dissolved within the confines of the installation."
"...the work created a continuity with no singular point of perceptual objectification, unlike phenomenologically determined works which attempt to fabricate a highly controlled area of visual perception."
no singular point of perceptual objectification...
On Structure in the work of RH Quaytman:
"R. H. Quaytman approaches painting as if it were poetry: when reading a poem, one notices particular words, and how each is not just that one word, but other words as well. Quaytman's paintings, organized into chapters structured in the form of a book, have a grammar, a syntax, and a vocabulary. While the work is bounded by a rigid structure on a material level—appearing only on beveled plywood panels in eight predetermined sizes derived from the golden ratio—open-ended content creates permutations that result in an archive without end."
On Trisha Donnelly:
"The ambling visitor also finds that the long, narrow back room of the 526 West 22nd Street gallery had been informally excavated, the two end doors pried ajar, the lights turned off and the metal roof vent left open to the winter sky. It feels as if one has entered into the very subconscious of the space only to find it deserted though pockmarked by previous usage. This mildly transgressive unmasking functions as a kind-of Wizard of Oz mnemonic, but more lastingly as a curious spectral registration of the artist’s presence in this most artificial of settings; as well as a sudden, unexpected seeping in of the here and the now in the formidable abstraction machine that is the white cube."
"When do the results of an art practice fall short of inspiring good faith? When is there enough there there? The intermittently frustrating journeys that Donnelly’s mise en scène repeatedly summon us into are beguiling abstractions of exhibitions. They are hikes along the philosophical crestline demarcating something from nothing — meandering but rarely without reward. Her work makes the convincing case that art exhibitions operate essentially via forms of manipulation akin to film, albeit with a starkly different phenomenology of the container, economics of the stage, and critical knowledge generated."
...and structuralistist film? like asher, something begins there.
The Interface Effect, Alexander Galloway:
"we come to an understanding the interface not as a surface, rather as a doorway or window."
I like the idea that this might relate to the construction of a threshold. Moving through one thing into another.
On poetics within Russian structuralist filmmaking:
"The poetic linking of cinema, he asserts, is in opposition to any "rigidly logical development of plot." In a sense, poetry is opposed to the conventions of drama that have been massively adapted by feature filmmakers. "But film material can be joined together in another way, which works above all to open the logic of a person's thought." Poetry then organizes its pleasurable links according to the processes of thought. This thought is not a static system of ideas and perceptions but something that "develops" or changes with time: "In my view poetic reasoning is closer to the laws by which thought develops, and thus to life itself, than is the logic of traditional drama."
Sitney, P. Adams. “Andrey Tarkovsky, Russian Experience, and the Poetry of Cinema.” New England Review (1990-), vol. 34, no. 3/4, 2014, pp. 208–41, p.208