Thursday, February 17, 2011

5 Questions (for Contemporary Practice) with Amy Balkin (@ Art21)

Check-out my feature with Amy Balkin at Art21 blog, with regards to her art of "counter-speculative spaces."

Some of my work deals with constructing “speculative counter-spaces” I’d like to see, such as a permanent global commons (in the project This is the Public Domain), or a clean-air park (Public Smog) in real space. I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting more equitable relations globally around access to and control of land, water, and air. But there’s also a range of issues raised by these kinds of projects, including questions of dilettantism when addressing issues of expropriation. It’s easy to think of current examples of brutal struggle over land, including land grabs, occupation, and forced expulsions, so what are the relative stakes?

But Walter Benjamin had this to say – ”One of the foremost tasks of art has always been the creation of a demand which could be fully satisfied only later” – and though he was speaking about future technological advancements that would allow for the production of new forms of art, I think it’s very helpful to consider, particularly in terms of the potential for positing counter-models in the context of aesthetic practice. And perhaps attempting to produce these spaces might move them further towards the realm of political possibility.
--Amy Balkin

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For Xavier Le Roy

The body is an archive
Discourse is a skin
Porous to the things we are
Born also without air

The body is not just body
The soul a machine-like work
Administering worlds, saving face
Though nothing will be saved

The body is mainly condition
A grace in which the concept
Moves where a center was
Where hands become like shade

Trembling what they're doing did
This system "what a body can do"
Spirit becomes a spirit-hinge
Attaching what will have been

Like Duchamp's Étant Donnés
Picture the difference within
The social life of machines
And the skin of social life

Withdrawn where there wasn't
A line this harrows so this
Becomes the point instead
Life without center spread.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meta-Discourse and the (Post-) Digital Book @ The Disinhibitor

Michael Cross posted a few paragraphs from the talk I gave in Bflo this past Friday, "Meta-Discourse and the (Post-) Digital Book (How The Hole Is Still Being Made)" at his blog, The Disinhibitor. Thanks to Margaret Konkol for organizing the talk, and for the great conversation and company of those in attendance!

How to instill the book with living presences that may bear witness to a set of social constellations and coordinates without doing harm to the participants/what has been offered through often unreflective and spontaneous forms of participation? How to resist this move as a gesture invested with cultural capital or as a move in a kind of art game while still being able to reflect critically upon it, or simply acknowledge its tendencies? The prefaces that I intend to include within The Hole, in this regard, reflect both the content of the would-be book, but also how the book is always a kind of performance within a discourse, and specifically as this performance is addressed to one’s peers, friends, and contemporaries (if only after the fact). How not to render lame (or dead) a process that one loves (or has loved) and wishes to further extend? How to circumvent the inevitable tendency for such ‘projects’ to become captured by staid forms of institutionalization, archivalism, or academic research; the negative forms of distribution and critical reception that pervade both commercial and academic culture (however much all of us work in relation to these cultural locations)?