Saturday, June 18, 2011

An Archive

--after Carlos Motta

There is an archive in the sky
Not unlike the one on this earth
Except that it doesn’t forget

Here we are forgetful
An archive, your archive, is specific not general
Because it is made of flesh and blood

And because some people can’t speak
Very loudly an archive attempts to speak
In words and pictures it is a kind of multitude

A swarm it takes to the streets and
Like events is not foreclosed
The composite of a few specific questions,

Of research, it tries to keep a promise
When the dead can’t
The person/people who organize it

Obviously matter very much
The archive being an extension of them
In its organization if not in its content

It bears the mark of their concern
Their burning regard not for a world that exists
But for what will have been

To make an archive like writing a poem
May make a living body of history transmissible
Making us bear witness—especially through what

It’s excluded or lost—to the collective struggle
To remember, the threat of disappearance
This struggle represents.

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice with Carlos Motta (@ Art21)

The latest 5 Questions for Contemporary Practice at Art21 blog features artist, activist, and radical archivist, Carlos Motta.

One of the biggest mistakes we often make is to believe in the monolithic category “ART IS,” which I believe is at the root of the debate (and skepticism) about the political efficacy of art. I don’t think art “IS” one thing in particular. It shouldn’t be thought in the singular, but rather embraced in the plural: Art(s), rather, are, whether objective and social, symbolic and didactic, pedagogical and entertaining, etc. I don’t mean to relativize or to dichotomize these categories, but to insist that a plural frame of mind produces a positive, inclusive, and liberatory rhetoric that resists the dominant and reductive forces of the art market and art history which have through the forces of authoritarianism, paternalism, and capitalism staked their claims over art.