Context reference to position my research.
In the context part of my RDC1 I wrote about Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic. I also wrote about Joseph Beuys’s ideas on “Social Sculpture” and my interests not only in his theory but also in his work as an artist with pedagogical approaches. Although I did not write about Beuys directly in the context section, his work also serves as context for mine.
Artists as context for my research practice:
Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic, Joseph Beuys, Peggy Phelan, John Newling, Pablo Helguera, Paul Ramirez Jonas, France Morin “The quiet in the Land”, Tania Bruguera ‘Catedra arte de conducta”, Thomas Hirschhorn, David Lamelas, Erwin Wurm.
Erwin Wurn’s work is of particular relevant to my artistic practice because of his ability to speak, as he puts it, “about the whole entity of a human being: the physical, the spiritual, the psychological and the political.”
I am interested in his work “One minute sculptures,” in which the ephemeral element relates to the social sculpture practice, because in both the concern is about the moment and the place where and when the piece is being produced. The photograph or the video becomes a document.
In an interview in the magazine Artology (05/05/2015), he discusses how each “One minute sculpture” differs in each exhibition venue and local background. I have similar experience in my social sculpture pieces.
I currently work on pieces at both senior centers and Art Center South Florida. These are different environments that influence the participants in multiple ways. There are several parallels between working in these two different venues and the practice in professional sports of teams playing either at home or away. Being “home” or “away” has a different impact on the participants. Things like feeling more or less secure, comfortable or confident, just to mention a few, are elements that certainly will impact the decisions the participant will make during the process.
Moreover, the participant’s decision about whether or not to participate in the piece will be influenced by the environment. The environment’s impact could/may be different for different personalities as well. Being “home” could help one particular individual feel more confident, while it could make another person feel embarrassed (for example, acting differently in front of people who they know). Perhaps for this personality, being “away” and being able to act with more freedom and spontaneity in a new place or unknown environment could be more beneficial.
Also, the environment has an impact on myself, as an artist and facilitator of each particular social sculpture situation: being “home” and opening my own studio for the production of the piece is different than being “away” and going to (i.e.) the senior center to provide a situation in a place that does not belong to me. In this last case I am providing a situation, a frame of work. At “home” I am providing a situation and a physical space to which I belong.
Familiarity or nonfamiliarity with the environment has different impacts on each of the participants in different ways, and therefore on the work process and the final piece.
Last, I want to go over some of the differences between my practice and Wurn’s work. Erwin Wurn, as many artists working with participants to complete the piece, works by giving to the spectators and/or participants a set of instructions for them to follow.
Far from giving instructions to the participants, in my work I let the participant decide. Through doing this, I become an increasingly passive subject as the work progresses. By the end of the piece, I am simply material for the participant to work with.
This approach has bases in the social sculpture’s element of pedagogy which will analyze later.
Pablo Helguera’s work has several mediums and approaches, it is known as Social Engaged Art (SEA). He was trained as a painter also interested in music, and performance, he is an educator and he works with audiences. His center of interest is people, the narratives of the participants, in his projects he tries to find those narratives.
In his work “El club de protesta” he worked with low income no musical trained people from NYC, and invited them to write songs to express their situation. Helguera believes that each critical moment in History has its own song. He brought the songs to professional musicians to make the music, at the and they took them to stage. In this piece, as in many other, Heguera’s role was the facilitator of his Social Engaged Art. In Italy he worked with activists from 1977 movement and with local students as well, they build a tent on the piazza and develop a radio program, recovering the historical political context of Bologna as well as its long history of independent radio.
In his ongoing piece “Conservatory of Dead Languages” 2004-present he focusses on the topic of the death languages. At the same time he has worked in museums and one of the things that intrigued him is the parallel to preservation museums have, as he believes: “museums preserve things supposedly for ever for future generations, but the act of preservation is in a way what kills it, the thing is not anymore what it was”. For this piece he decided to use old technology, a phonograph. He was attracted by the cylinders carved by diamonds upon the sound frequency, the objectification of the sound in a more tangible way as supposed with digital technology that is more difficult to understand. He traveled to Sonora, Baja California to record disappearing languages, some times he finds last speakers of certain languages, this is an ongoing piece, he is always on a search of last speakers from anywhere in the world*
Helguera’s work gives to mine a strong context, as SEA, educator, performer and his way of approaching the situations he cerates from multiple disciplines.
*Notes taken from the video Big Ideas in Art and Culture: Pablo Helguera. Dance Theater David Earle in Guelph, Ontario, Canada September 14, 2012. Published on Jan 8, 2013.
Victoria Eleanor Bradford
House Unbuilt is a collaborative performance body of work.
Victoria Eleanor Bradford describes herself as choreographer of structures and forms, she is interested in shaping body’s in motion, images on film, and social situations. She is the Artistic Director.
I am reviewing “Text Improvisation”. It is a video documentation of a performance piece.
In this performance this two women are exploring the space with their bodies in what seems to be contemporary dance movements.
It is a 5:56 minutes piece documented in video from one camera, one point of view approximately 2 mts high camera.
Through the entire piece this the two performers move through the space with a variaty of approaches. From interacting to each other to ignoring one another, from using the floor or walls gravity, to standing up in balance, from fast hands movements to slow motion. It really gives the feeling of space/ form motion exploration.
The performance happens in a empty room where the main surface is the floor.
The space is divided with straight lines made with black, white and yellow tape.
In the first 2 minutes there is voice describing an ordinary situation that does not seem to be related with the performance.
A second performer appear in escene.
Later the video goes silence with the exception if the performer’s body and movements noises.
“By exposing the blind spot within the theoretical frameitself, it may be possible to construct a way of knowing which does not take surveillance of the project, visible or otherwise, as its chief aim”
Paul Ramirez Jonas
France Morin “The quiet in the Land”
Tania Bruguera ‘Catedra arte de conducta”