Course Description

This course is meant to be a space for you to examine and deepen your relationship to the field and your own practice through readings, discussions, and presentations.  The readings are meant to expand your perspective on the field of jewelry and metalsmithing, to define its particularities and concerns in relation to the discourses of the contemporary art world.

Together we will explore a series of seminal theoretical texts, seeking ways to relate them to our own practice.  Through these texts we will encounter a series of themes and historical perspectives that are crucial to the field of jewelry, while also delving into fields and areas of inquiry, that have not commonly been related to our field, but perhaps should or could be.  Our aim is to get a historical and interdisciplinary perspective on where we are as artists/makers today, how we got here and where we could go from here. The course aims to bring up critical questions on why we make, whom we make for and the meaning of our practice beyond the studio and the jewelry and metals world.

This is a chance to practice your skills in connecting theory, reading and writing to your work and to build a vocabulary and ground of reference around your ideas, interests and intentions. It’s a chance to take part in an intense discourse around your field, which you might be asked to do many times in the future of your career.

The Wednesday meetings will adopt the form of a reading/talking circle. Your role in the group is important and the success of our conversations will be based on your participation and engagement. We will all take turns in presenting and leading the discussion and also examine what “research through practice” might mean for us, by exploring some ways of connecting theory and making. 

Dec 9, 2009

Presentation on Cindy Sherman

Erin Scully
Seminar 11.4.09
Laura Mulvey reading “Fetishism and Curiosity” Chapter 5: Cosmetics and Abjection: Cindy Sherman 1977-1987 (pp. 65-76)

Cindy Sherman was born in 1954, as the youngest of five children, in New Jersey but grew up on Long Island, New York. She was not into art at a young age like most artists, and neither were her parents. When she went to college in Buffalo, NY she started in painting but realized that she “said all she could say through painting” and “gave it up” and took up photography. She graduated in 1976 and her “Untitled Film Stills” series transformed and became known the following year. She started to photograph herself in the roles of actresses in B-movies. They are not self-portraits. She intentionally titles them “Untitled” and numbers them to remove them even further from the “portrait” as well as to not be associated in self-portraits of “Cindy Sherman the person”.
“Sherman uses herself as a vehicle for commentary on a variety of issues of the modern world: the rold of the woman, the role of the artist, and many more. It is through these ambiguous and eclectic photographs that Sherman has developed a distinct signature style. Through a number of different series of works, Sherman has raised challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society, the media, and the nature of the creation of art”.


*** The following ideas have been compiled together and taken from the chapter. I won’t use quotation marks for everything, but all the credit belongs to Laura Mulvey. ***

A quote from Sherman:
“When I was in school I was getting disgusted with the attitude of art being so religious or sacred, so I wanted to make something which people could relate to without having to read a book about it first. So that anybody off the street could appreciate it, even if they couldn’t fully understand it; they could still get something out of it. That’s the reason [why] I wanted to imitate something out of the culture, and also make fun of the culture as I was doing it.”

Sherman is not a photographer, but an artist who uses photography. As her work developed, between 77 and 87, a metamorphosis took place. Apparently easy and accessible post-modern pastiche underwent a gradual transformation into difficult, but still accessible, images that raise serious and challenging questions for contemporary feminist aesthetics. In the early 70s the Women’s movement claimed the female body as a site for political struggle with the rise in feminism, debates of abortion rights, sexuality and oppression, and representation of the female body. These theoretical and political aesthetics affected artists and the representation of the female body in art came to a sort of crisis.
Feminine theorists turned to pop culture and artists turned to theory, and Sherman concentrated on the portrayal of the female body, which was not a sign of regression, but of re-representation. Her work changed over the ten year span to see a change in style and a maturity while staying true to her feminine narrative.
Her earliest work in the late 70s was in black and white, all numbered shots eventually titled “Untitled Film Still” #_ ... These photos reference the 50s post-modern era, neo-realism; evoking the past while denying the reference of history. “Nostalgia is selective memory and its effect is often to draw attention to its repressions, to the fact that it always conceals more than it records”. In these photos she is made up with her hair combed back and wearing heels and respectable yet wearing eroticised clothing. All seemingly 50s “carefully ‘put on’ and ‘done’”. She reveals a sort of nostalgic unease in the vulnerability portrayed through the gestures and facial expressions.
The viewers of these images are put into a slow wave of understanding; first they can identify with the image, then realize it is not in fact an actual film still, then the realization that the woman in the photo is actually Sherman herself, portraying a character, then as in cinema, the viewer marvels at the illusion created which then destroys the original credibility. “The lure of voyeurism turns around like a trap, and the viewer ends up aware that Sherman, the artist, has set up a machine for making the gaze materialize uncomfortably in alliance with Sherman, the model”. Thus since this was all a set up, the viewer can realize that there was no life to the “story” that was depicted, before or after the photograph is taken.
In 1980 she made color photographs depicting closer shots of the face, exploring the masquerade of femininity’s interior/exterior binary opposition: a centerfold style photograph with a figure lying on a bed or sofa, in a thoughtful position or in one that would seem like a photographer “captured” a moment of silent reverie or contemplation, exposing the feminine vulnerability in a closed-door type setting. The eyes of the model gaze into the distance, while her clothes are sometimes revealing parts of the body, “unknowingly”. “These photographs reiterate the “to-be-looked-at-ness” of femininity”. Soft edges, blurred background to foreground, the model is not in stark contrast to linear backgrounds as in the earlier work.
In 1983 her next series made major changes, commenting on the ridiculousness of the fashion industry and in response to a commission to do a spread for Artforum magazine. She stated “I picked out some clothes that i wanted to use. I was sent completely different clothes that I found boring to use. I really started to make fun, not of the clothes, but much more of the fashion. I was starting to put scar tissue on my face to become really ugly”. She used harsh lighting, created the illusion of heaviness in the model’s positioning and unflattering poses, exaggerating angles and awkwardnesses of the female body that the fashion industry plays up.
Her final two series in this reading became more grotesque and disturbing, while ending with a series that completely removed the body, focusing on bodily fluids and residues that the cosmetics industries make products to hide or conceal or clean up. These photos also were printed significantly larger than her first series of black and whites. They were so large that when you entered the space in the gallery, you could do nothing but stare at them, searching for any sign of the form, you were immersed in the photo. For example, images of decaying food and vomit reference the anorexic woman.
In this reading theories of fetishism are used to understand some of her work.
Freud’s theory of fetishism “demonstrates that the psyche can sustain incompatible ideas at one and the same time through a process of disavowal. So switching back and forth between visual duping, followed by perception of the duping mechanism, a willing suspension of disbelief followed by a wave of disillusion... a viewer can feel almost physically, and almost relish, the splitting open of the gap between knowledge and belief”. In the full spectrum of the 10 years of work, when the viewer reaches the final photographs of disintegration and only reluctantly recognizes the content for what it is, the art aspect of Sherman’s work returns... and their place on the gallery walls affirms their status, just as the viewer is about to turn away in disbelief. Sherman’s work bears witness to the photograph’s ability to mean more than what it seems to represent.

My "Curious Flora". A Manifesto

Erin Scully “Curious Flora” 12.2.09

A Manifesto Is: “In art, a public declaration of the theories and directions of a movement.” “Serving to reveal their motivations and raisons d‚etre. (the claimed reason for the existence of something)”

a finished work of art does not have to be wearable jewelry.

a finished work of art is a piece that succeeds formally and has content, whether in meaning through concept or connotation or recollection of an experience or feelings...

a finished work of art does not feel like something is missing. or needs to be altered. or needs to be jewelry... yet. it is when i look at it and feel at peace or satisfied.

“playing” is the act of making enjoyable to search for the perfect medium, or means of expression, to create a piece of art.

for me as a maker, for me to come to my best conclusions, i have to “play” with materials and a concept in order to discover the perfect resolution.

sometimes you have to learn when something is “good enough” in order to finish a piece.

sometimes you don’t.

for humans, “release” is one of the ultimate euphoric experiences.

making art is like “releasing” something from inside of you. manifesting a thought or concept and creating a tangible object. making is my ultimate “release”.

it is an inherent human inkling to put meaning into objects.

a quote from yoshie: “sometimes you don’t need to speak about, or explain, your work because you made it. it came from you. it is about you.”

beauty doesn’t have to be pretty.

feminine doesn’t have to be girly.

not everything has to be psychoanalyzed. sometimes there is no explanation for the desire to make something.

looking at other artist’s works is important. find what you love about it. what you don’t love. think about why you love it or don’t love it. others’ works will always inform your own.

my work is a culmination of two things: my love of the natural world and botany, and my love of the metalsmithing processes.

sanding, filing, scoring, carving, perfecting. these things are therapeutic for me. they put me at ease.

being outside in my mother’s garden brings me the same peace. relaxation, feeling one with nature, flowers, sunshine, warmth, positivity, safety, bliss.

blending these two elements that bring me peace and joy and knowing what effort and work and blood, sweat, and tears (sometimes literally) goes into my work makes it feel that much more rewarding when a piece is complete.

my work is:
love, texture, choices, epiphanies, warmth, softness, sunshine, food, learning, teaching.

my work is:
visceral, beautiful, colorful, desirable, evocative, luscious, wet, uncanny, sexual, inviting.

my work is:
yellow, silver, copper, pearls, blue, resin, paint, steel, hard, smooth, matte, thin, orange.

my work is: me.

Dec 6, 2009

Taking a Stance for the Body!

I view the body as a pedestal; a site organically, specifically, perfectly designed to be adorned with ornament. The exquisiteness of the human form naturally makes jewelry the most communicative form of art. Although no two bodies are designed exactly the same, each person has the anatomy necessary not simply to wear jewelry, but to exhibit these ornaments to the world. As humans we possess an innate almost instinctual desire to adorn ourselves, which can be traced back to the earliest stages of human history. It is our heavenly, flawless design that allows us to display such work seamlessly. Each body part is a stage, set or adorned intentionally by the wearer, for the privileged viewer.

I see my responsibility as a jewelry maker to honor the beauty of the human form and to use it as a blank canvas in order to best present my ideas and my handiwork. The fact that this canvas is a living, breathing person allows jewelry to live in a world that is entirely different from all other art forms; it enters the world in a totally different context that is inherently structured by nature. I think not only about how jewelry will interact with the wearer but also about what type of response it will elicit from the viewer. The uniqueness in jewelry as an art form is that it celebrates the body of the wearer and the mind of the viewer in a way that is sacred! How are humans expected to comprehend the significance and value of jewelry if it is not in relation to the body? Impossible.

Although you cannot choose your body or it’s various parts, you do have the immense power and responsibility to choose how you ornament yourself. What will you wear today? How does the jewelry you wear make you feel? What does the jewelry that other people wear make you think? Everyday we act as wearer and viewer, performer and audience, gallery wall and entrant. Our own jewelry is continuously on display and yet we find ourselves the constant beholder of other peoples adorned bodies, what a gloriously overlooked extravagance! Jewelry is everywhere in a constant state of motion and flux and dually satisfying for the person wearing it and the person watching it.

All of the jewelry that I design and make is specifically intended to be worn in order to ornament the body. Each piece is made for a particular area on the body, which inherently changes the way in which the wearer and the piece negotiate a conversation with the viewer. The pieces enter into and encounter the world through a fleshy portal, the human body of the wearer, and, through a cerebral portal, the human mind of the viewer. It is most important that I continue to design and make with the body constantly and incessantly in mind. The human body is the only plausible site for jewelry. This notion is of the utmost importance to me as a maker.

Orphan of Omnipotence

Orphan of Omnipotence
a manifesto by Courtney Salazar

My manifesto discusses how art is a product of religion, and that over time art has taken itself out of a dependent role and turned the tables. But , I'll give you a hint, in the end, art wins!
Art was born out of the need for mankind to connect and quantify his existence through religion. Religion gave humans a reason to transcend beyond a mere menial life and an unknown beginning. Although, at the same time it did require submission, and placed us in a self-inflicted subordinate role (but you know, that did call for some skillful creative imagination on the part of the creators of these beliefs). By visualizing a relationship with their deity through a means of formal making, man further justified his belief in a higher power and materialized a connection . This tool of spiritual imagery became known as 'art', although not very similar to art as we know it today. Art has evolved over the past several hundred years, and has moved further and further from its religious roots. It no longer exists as a tool for religious propaganda, or to rationalize a cultivated belief. Its purpose now is to embody unique aspects of specific cultures, social ties, personal experience, relationships, beliefs, humor, sarcasm, and everything else that exists. Religion now, merely acts as a subject matter to art, a theme or just another institution to be mocked. We don't have to fear punishment for blasphemy, nor do we have to make art in the name of anything other than ourselves. Art is a strong, proud, happy, and independent orphan of spiritual omnipotence. It was born and shaped and manipulated and then set free by the selfishness of the people who enslaved it. Art has not replaced religion, but it is on the other side of things. It is running the show as the ultimate embodiment of anything and everything that exists. This is unlike religious deities, who are seen as the embodiment of the supreme creator of living things. Art gives us the control to manifest and create our own opinionated versions of anything we like, moving beyond the tangible into ideas and experiences. The artist and his voice could not remain anonymous forever. The selfish tendencies of the human race won out over serving a higher power. We are our own baker and religion is a very small piece of the pie, surely not large enough to dictate any parameters for creativity. So now we mock it and use it as a figure of speech and offend others with it and use it to sell products and use its imagery to tell our own stories. Art is now the omnipotent tool, the one thing that transcends mere existence. And we are so lucky to be wielding this tool, right where we are in the middle of it.

Dec 5, 2009

How to Become a Living Legend

HOW TO BECOME A LIVING LEGEND a manifesto best interpreted through dance

cheap art manifesto

damn hippies

Manifesto of Futurism


  1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.
  2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.
  3. Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist.
  4. We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath ... a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
  5. We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled along its orbit.
  6. The poet must spend himself with warmth, glamour and prodigality to increase the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.
  7. Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.
  8. We are on the extreme promontory of the centuries! What is the use of looking behind at the moment when we must open the mysterious shutters of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We are already living in the absolute, since we have already created eternal, omnipresent speed.
  9. We want to glorify war — the only cure for the world — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.
  10. We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.
  11. We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt; the multi-colored and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals: the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of aeroplanes whose propeller sounds like the flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds.

Dec 3, 2009

6.   Manifesto

Dec 2nd


Presentations of final assignment – a manifesto

Create a manifesto and a 7 min presentation of it, with or without images, using any means you find suitable. The subject can be anything – but it should be radical!  It can be your own manifesto as a person/artist/maker or something you feel strongly about but you can also make something up for fun or take on a quest that might not be in accordance with your own personal beliefs, or even in opposition to them.

Your proposal for subject and title should be submitted at class No. 5 (Nov 18th) 

Readings: Manifestos

Nov 29, 2009

a student's manifesto

this is actually a student's manifesto -- maybe it was an assignment - it kind of looks like one. versus writing or performing a manifesto for the experience of taking a stand on something I think it would actually be good for students to have to write and revamp a manifesto specific to their work. as corny as it sounds it would actually be a good critique experience to be questioned on your ideas away from your objects...

the "one less car" manifesto

I really like this one...

a rambling but effective manifesto

a manifesto on a reusable shopping's actually kind of amazing how often you'll see this bag (even with/from people not familiar with lululemon the clothing/exercise/yoga company that gives out the bag)

Nov 22, 2009

Fluxus Manifesto

Nov 21, 2009

Manifesto: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer

Russell-Einstein Manifesto(against nuclear weapons and war)

In the tragic situation which confronts humanity, we feel that scientists should assemble in conference to appraise the perils that have arisen as a result of the development of weapons of mass destruction, and to discuss a resolution in the spirit of the appended draft.

We are speaking on this occasion, not as members of this or that nation, continent, or creed, but as human beings, members of the species Man, whose continued existence is in doubt. The world is full of conflicts; and, overshadowing all minor conflicts, the titanic struggle between Communism and anti-Communism.

Almost everybody who is politically conscious has strong feelings about one or more of these issues; but we want you, if you can, to set aside such feelings and consider yourselves only as members of a biological species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance none of us can desire.

We shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood, there is hope that they may collectively avert it.

We have to learn to think in a new way. We have to learn to ask ourselves, not what steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we prefer, for there no longer are such steps; the question we have to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military contest of which the issue must be disastrous to all parties?

The general public, and even many men in positions of authority, have not realized what would be involved in a war with nuclear bombs. The general public still thinks in terms of the obliteration of cities. It is understood that the new bombs are more powerful than the old, and that, while one A-bomb could obliterate Hiroshima, one H-bomb could obliterate the largest cities, such as London, New York, and Moscow.

No doubt in an H-bomb war great cities would be obliterated. But this is one of the minor disasters that would have to be faced. If everybody in London, New York, and Moscow were exterminated, the world might, in the course of a few centuries, recover from the blow. But we now know, especially since the Bikini test, that nuclear bombs can gradually spread destruction over a very much wider area than had been supposed.

It is stated on very good authority that a bomb can now be manufactured which will be 2,500 times as powerful as that which destroyed Hiroshima. Such a bomb, if exploded near the ground or under water, sends radio-active particles into the upper air. They sink gradually and reach the surface of the earth in the form of a deadly dust or rain. It was this dust which infected the Japanese fishermen and their catch of fish. No one knows how widely such lethal radio-active particles might be diffused, but the best authorities are unanimous in saying that a war with H-bombs might possibly put an end to the human race. It is feared that if many H-bombs are used there will be universal death, sudden only for a minority, but for the majority a slow torture of disease and disintegration.

Many warnings have been uttered by eminent men of science and by authorities in military strategy. None of them will say that the worst results are certain. What they do say is that these results are possible, and no one can be sure that they will not be realized. We have not yet found that the views of experts on this question depend in any degree upon their politics or prejudices. They depend only, so far as our researches have revealed, upon the extent of the particular expert's knowledge. We have found that the men who know most are the most gloomy.

Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war? People will not face this alternative because it is so difficult to abolish war.

The abolition of war will demand distasteful limitations of national sovereignty. But what perhaps impedes understanding of the situation more than anything else is that the term "mankind" feels vague and abstract. People scarcely realize in imagination that the danger is to themselves and their children and their grandchildren, and not only to a dimly apprehended humanity. They can scarcely bring themselves to grasp that they, individually, and those whom they love are in imminent danger of perishing agonizingly. And so they hope that perhaps war may be allowed to continue provided modern weapons are prohibited.

This hope is illusory. Whatever agreements not to use H-bombs had been reached in time of peace, they would no longer be considered binding in time of war, and both sides would set to work to manufacture H-bombs as soon as war broke out, for, if one side manufactured the bombs and the other did not, the side that manufactured them would inevitably be victorious.

Although an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons as part of a general reduction of armaments would not afford an ultimate solution, it would serve certain important purposes. First, any agreement between East and West is to the good in so far as it tends to diminish tension. Second, the abolition of thermo-nuclear weapons, if each side believed that the other had carried it out sincerely, would lessen the fear of a sudden attack in the style of Pearl Harbour, which at present keeps both sides in a state of nervous apprehension. We should, therefore, welcome such an agreement though only as a first step.

Most of us are not neutral in feeling, but, as human beings, we have to remember that, if the issues between East and West are to be decided in any manner that can give any possible satisfaction to anybody, whether Communist or anti-Communist, whether Asian or European or American, whether White or Black, then these issues must not be decided by war. We should wish this to be understood, both in the East and in the West.

There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.


We invite this Congress, and through it the scientists of the world and the general public, to subscribe to the following resolution:

"In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them."

Max Born
Percy W. Bridgman
Albert Einstein
Leopold Infeld
Frederic Joliot-Curie
Herman J. Muller
Linus Pauling
Cecil F. Powell
Joseph Rotblat
Bertrand Russell
Hideki Yukawa

Nov 18, 2009

The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology

At TEDIndia, Pranav Mistry demos several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data -- including a deep look at his SixthSense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper "laptop." In an onstage Q&A, Mistry says he'll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all.

Site Specific and Relational Art

Dance and art recently collaborated in a site specific gallery at the Dia:Beacon Museum in upstate NY. The Trisha Brown Dance Company took viewers on a blast from the past with performances that took place in seven galleries during the 1960's and 1970's. Here is the NY times article that explains this unusual pairing thoroughly:

Nov 17, 2009

Books and Background on New Genre Public Art

On Sculpture Chicago:
"Culture in Action: A Public Art Program of Sculpture Chicago Book Reviews" by Elanor Heartney from Art In America, June 1995

Two Books sited in the above article-
Mapping the Terrain. New Genre Public Art, Edited by Suzanne Lacy, one of the participants of "Culture in Action." Seattle, Bay Press, 1995, ISBN: 9780941920308
Culture in Action: A Public Art Program of Sculpture Chicago, Collected essays by project curator Mary Jane Jacob, director Eva Olson and Michael Brenson. Seattle, Bay Press, 1995, ISBN: 0941920313

Further On-line Reading:
"Icons and Interventions in Chicago and the Potential of Public Art" by Kathryn Hixson from Sculpture Magazine, May/June 1998 Vol.17 No. 5
Also, reading about Alix Lambert Wedding Piece (1992) got me thinking about "Aliza Shvarts-abortion-art project" (Yale Student ) She says she did this in the hopes of fostering dialogue on the "relationship bwtween art and the human body"

Nov 16, 2009

Anna Shapiro

"Anna Shapiro is committed to creating public artworks that provide a sense of community and that educate about ecosystems within which we live. Creating a sense of place is the most important component of Anna's public artworks. Her site specific work responds to a location and/or environmental concern. She initiates dialogue with the larger public audience that passes by, looks at and interacts with her public murals, installations and window exhibits."

I thought it was interesting for me to look at an artist's work that has existed in the places that I know relationally... Take a look and see what you think.

Nov 15, 2009

U B U W E B - Film & Video: Relational Art: Is It An Ism? (2004)

This is a video about relational art, and it is actually interesting to watch and might help you to understand what the relational art is...

more about "U B U W E B - Film & Video: Relationa...", posted with vodpod
I thought it might be nice to see some of these artist's and their work in action, so here are some videos from YouTube that helped me to get more insight.

You Tube video of Carsten Holler's Adventures at the Tate Modern

Wind Chime(After Dream) by Pierre Huyghe

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, installation at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall

The interesting thing about the Holler and Gonzalez-Foerster videos is that they are quite large installations/environments, but they still are under the thumb/wing of an art institution. They are literally in London's contemporary it gallery. How does this affect the full experience of these installations? Does it matter where they are installed? Does the location legitimize the action or make it mainstream? Does being in a place like a gallery or museum mean that you have more control over the outcome? Or are they merely pushing the boundaries of pre-existing institutions rather than trying to rebel from the establishments like site-specific artists did? Is art really made in the gallery?

Nov 14, 2009

georgina starr dining alone

In 'Relational Aesthetics,' Nicolas Bourriaud writes about the microterritories that occur in present day art practices. "The subversive and critical function of contemporary art is now achieved in the invention of individual and collective vanishing lines, in those temporary and nomadic constructions whereby the artist models and disseminateds disconcerting situations (pg 31)." The artist Georgina Starr is mentioned for her exhibition in Paris where she handed out to solo diners a writing which described her anxiety felt by dining alone in a restaurant. I immediately wanted to read this description because this anxiety is felt by everyone at some point. I recall this coming up in an episode of Sex and the City where they discuss how anytime they have to deal with dining alone a book, journal or cellphone is there to give purpose to them eating by themselves. They had to hide behind an object to divert attention from the awkwardness of being alone. I think it is easy for anxiety to come into play here because our own imaginations take over and we are fearful of being seen as someone that was "stood up" or without friends. I have worked in the service industry for over 5 years and enjoy observing solo diners and guessing why they are there alone. I would rather get something to go then deal with the watchful eyes of the restaurant staff and other patrons that are dining together. Here is Starr's text:

georgina starr dining alone

Nov 13, 2009

Bruce Mau’s: Incomplete Manifesto,1998

1. Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good.
Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome.
When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to
be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep.
The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents.The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study.
A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift.
Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere.
John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader.
Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas.
Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas
to applications.

12. Keep moving.
The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down.
Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool.
Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions.
Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

16. Collaborate.
The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ____________________.
Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas
of others.

18. Stay up late.
Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor.
Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks.
Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

21. Repeat yourself.
If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

22. Make your own tools.
Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

23. Stand on someone’s shoulders.
You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

24. Avoid software.
The problem with software is that everyone has it.

25. Don’t clean your desk.
You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

26. Don’t enter awards competitions.
Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

27. Read only left-hand pages.
Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our "noodle."

28. Make new words.
Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

29. Think with your mind.
Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty.
Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between "creatives" and "suits" is what Leonard Cohen calls a 'charming artifact of the past.'

31. Don’t borrow money.
Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

32. Listen carefully.
Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

33. Take field trips.
The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

34. Make mistakes faster.
This isn’t my idea – I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

35. Imitate.
Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You'll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

36. Scat.
When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else ... but not words.

37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

38. Explore the other edge.
Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.
Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces – what Dr. Seuss calls "the waiting place." Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference – the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals – but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

40. Avoid fields.
Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

41. Laugh.
People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I've become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

42. Remember.
Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

43. Power to the people.
Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can't be free agents if we’re not free.

Nov 11, 2009

relational art at RISD!!

The office of public engagement at RISD offers some interesting relational art programs throughout the academic year.
check it out!!
Here is their website

Relational Art

Relational Art (or relationalism[1]) is defined by Nicolas Bourriaud, co-founder and former co-director of Paris art gallery Palais de Tokyo as "a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space."[2] Artworks are judged based upon the inter-human relations which they represent, produce or prompt. -Wikipedia-

I think the most important role of jewelry is that it has to be worn on our body. However, there are many jewelers who present their work in various ways without inviting the body. Even at exhibitions, works are tied on tables so that they cannot be stolen or touched. In my opinion, this fact is not only indispensable but also less connected to Relational aesthetics. If the audience cannot touch or participate in our work, we would never create relationship with human interaction.

However, is it important for us to create relational aesthetic jewelry?

Yves Klein (28 April 1928 – 6 June 1962) was a French artist and is considered an important figure in post-war European art.

Klein experimented with various methods of applying the paint; firstly different rollers and then later sponges, created a series of varied surfaces. This experimentalism would lead to a number of works Klein made using naked female models covered in blue paint and dragged across or laid upon canvases to make the image, using the models as "living brushes". This type of work he called AnthropometryThe

Also attached- in preperation to the final assignment his-Chelsea Hotel Manifesto:

Due to the fact that I have painted monochromes for fifteen years,

Due to the fact that I have created pictorial immaterial states,

Due to the fact that I have manipulated the forces of the void,

Due to the fact that I have sculpted with fire and with water and have painted with fire and with water,

Due to the fact that I have painted with living brushes — in other words, the nude body of live models covered with paint: these living brushes were under the constant direction of my commands, such as "a little to the right; over to the left now; to the right again, etc." By maintaining myself at a specific and obligatory distance from the surface to be painted, I am able to resolve the problem of detachment.

Due to the fact that I have invented the architecture and the urbanism of air — of course, this new conception transcends the traditional meaning of the terms "architecture and urbanism" — my goal from the beginning was to reunite with the legend of Paradise Lost. This project was directed toward the habitable surface of the Earth by the climatization of the great geographical expanses through an absolute control over the thermal and atmospheric situation in their relation to our morphological and psychical conditions.

Due to the fact that I have proposed a new conception of music with my "monotone-silence-symphony,"

Due to the fact that I have presented a theater of the void, among countless other adventures...

I would never have believed, fifteen years ago at the time of my earliest efforts, that I would suddenly feel the need to explain myself — to satisfy the desire to know the reason of all that has occurred and the even still more dangerous effect, in other words — the influence my art has had on the young generation of artists throughout the world today.

It dismays me to hear that a certain number of them think that I represent a danger to the future of art — that I am one of those disastrous and noxious results of our time that must be crushed and destroyed before the propagation of my evil completely takes over.

I regret to reveal that this was not my intention; and to happily proclaim to those who evince faith in the multiplicity of new possibilities in the path that I prescribe — Take care! Nothing has crystallized as yet; nor can I say what will happen after this. I can only say that today I am no longer as afraid as I was yesterday in the face of the souvenir of the future.

An artist always feels uneasy when called upon to speak of this own work. It should speak for itself, particularly when it is valid.

What can I do? Stop now?

No, what I call "the indefinable pictorial sensibility" absolutely escapes this very personal solution.


I think of those words I was once inspired to write. "Would not the future artist be he who expressed through an eternal silence an immense painting possessing no dimension?"

Gallery-goers, like any other public, would carry this immense painting in their memory (a remembrance which does not derive at all from the past, but is solely cognizant of the indefinable sensibility of man).

It is necessary to create and recreate a constant physical fluidity in order to receive the grace which allows a positive creativity of the void.

Just as I created a "monotone-silence-symphony" in 1947, composed in two parts, — one broad continuous sound followed by an equally broad and extended silence, endowed with a limitless dimension — in the same way, I attempt to set before you a written painting of the short history of my art, followed naturally by a pure and affective silence.

My account will close with the creation of a compelling a posteriori silence whose existence in our communal space, after all — the space of a single being — is immune to the destructive qualities of physical noise.

Much depends upon the success of my written painting in its initial technical and audible phase. Only then will the extraordinary a posteriori silence, in the midst of noise as well as in the cell of physical silence, operate in a new and unique zone of pictorial immaterial sensibility.

Having reached today this point in space and knowledge, I propose to gird my loins, then to draw back in retrospection on the diving board of my evolution. In the manner of an Olympic diver, in the most classic technique of the sport, I must prepare for my leap into the future of today by prudently moving backward, without ever losing sight of the edge, today consciously attained — the immaterialization of art.

What is the purpose of this retrospective journey in time?

Simply, I wish to avoid that you or I fall under the power of that phenomenon of dreams, which describes the feelings and landscapes provoked by our brusque landing in the past. This psychological past is precisely the anti-space that I put behind me during the adventures of these past fifteen years.

At present, I am particularly excited by "bad taste." I have the deep feeling that there exists in the very essence of bad taste a power capable of creating those things situated far beyond what is traditionally termed "The Work of Art." I wish to play with human feeling, with its "morbidity" in a cold and ferocious manner. Only very recently I have become a sort of gravedigger of art (oddly enough, I am using the very terms of my enemies). Some of my latest works have been coffins and tombs. During the same time I succeeded in painting with fire, using particularly powerful and searing gas flames, some of them measuring three to four meters high. I use these to bathe the surface of the painting in such a way that it registered the spontaneous trace of fire.

In sum, my goal is twofold: first of all, to register the trace of human sentimentality in present-day civilization; and then, to register the trace of fire, which has engendered this very same civilization — that of the fire itself. And all of this because the void has always been my constant preoccupation; and I believe that fires burn in the heart of the void as well as in the heart of man.

All facts that are contradictory are authentic principles of an explanation of the universe. Truly, fire is one of these principles, essentially contradictory, one from the other, since it is both the sweetness and torture that lies at the heart and origin of our civilization. But what stirs this search for feeling in me through the making of super-graves and super-coffins? What stirs this search in me for the imprint of fire? Why search for the Trace itself?

Because every work of creation, regardless of its cosmic place, is the representation of a pure phenomenology — all that is phenomena manifests itself. This manifestation is always distinct from form and it is the essence of the Immediate, the Trace of the Immediate.

A few months ago, for example, I felt the urge to register the signs of atmospheric behavior by recording the instantaneous traces of spring showers on a canvas, of south winds, and of lightning (needless to say, the last-mentioned ended in a catastrophe). For instance, a trip from Paris to Nice might have been a waste of time had I not spent it profitably by recording the wind. I placed a canvas, freshly coated with paint, on the roof of my white Citroën. As I drove down Route Nationale 7 at 100 kilometers an hour, the heat, the cold, the light, the wind, and the rain all combined to age my canvas prematurely; At least thirty to forty years were condensed into a single day. The only annoying thing about this project is that for the entire trip I was unable to separate myself from my painting.

My atmospheric imprints of a few months ago were preceded by vegetal imprints. After all, my aim is to extract and obtain the trace of the immediate from all natural objects, whatever their origin — be the circumstance human, animal, vegetable, or atmospheric.

I would like now, with your permission and close attention, to divulge to you possibly the most important and certainly the most secret phase of my art. I do not know if you are going to believe me — it is cannibalism. After all, is it not preferable to be eaten than to be bombed to death? I can hardly develop this idea that has tormented me for years. I leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions with regard to the future of art.

If we step back again, following the lines of my evolution, we arrive at the moment when I conceived of painting with the aid of living brushes. That was two years ago. The purpose of this was to be able to attain a defined and constant distance between myself and the painting during the time of creation.

Many critics claimed that by this method of painting I was doing nothing more than recreating the method that has been called "action painting." But now, I would like to make it clear that this endeavor is distinct from "action painting" in so far as I am completely detached from all physical work during the time of creation.

Just to cite one example of the anthropometric errors found within the deformed ideas spread by the international press — I speak of that group of Japanese painters who with great refinement used my method in a strange way. In fact, these painters actually transformed themselves into living brushes. By diving themselves in color and then rolling on their canvases, they became representative of ultra-action-painters! Personally, I would never attempt to smear paint over my body and thus to become a living brush; to the contrary, I would rather put on my tuxedo and don white gloves.

It would never cross my mind to soil my hands with paint. Detached and distant, the work of art must be completed under my eyes and under my command. As the work begins its completion, I stand there — present at the ceremony, immaculate, calm, relaxed, perfectly aware of what is taking place and ready to receive the art being born into the tangible world.

What directed me towards anthropometry? The answer can be found in the work that I made during the years 1956 to 1957 while I took part in that giant adventure, the creation of pictorial immaterial sensibility.

I had just removed from my studio all earlier works. The result — an empty studio. All that I could physically do was to remain in my empty studio and the pictorial immaterial states of creation marvelously unfolded. However, little by little, I became mistrustful of myself, but never of the immaterial. From that moment, following the example of all painters, I hired models. But unlike the others, I merely wanted to work in their company rather than have them pose for me. I had been spending too much time alone in the empty studio; I no longer wanted to remain alone with the marvelous blue void which was in the process of opening.

Though seemingly strange, remember that I was perfectly aware of the fact that I experienced none of that vertigo, felt by all my predecessors, when they found themselves face to face with the absolute void that is, quite naturally, true pictorial space.

But how long could my security in this awareness endure?

Years ago, the artist went directly to his subject, worked outdoors in the country, had his feet firmly planted on the ground — it was healthy.

Today, easel-painters have become academics and have reached the point of shutting themselves in their studios in order to confront the terrifying mirrors of their canvases. Now the reason I was pushed to use nude models is all but evident: it was a way of preventing the danger of secluding myself in the overly spiritual spheres of creation, thus breaking with the most basic common sense repeatedly affirmed by our incarnate condition.

The shape of the body, its lines, its strange colors hovering between life and death, hold no interest for me. Only the essential, pure affective climate of the flesh is valid.

Having rejected nothingness, I discovered the void. The meaning of the immaterial pictorial zones, extracted from the depth of the void which by that time was of a very material order. Finding it unacceptable to sell these immaterial zones for money, I insisted in exchange for the highest quality of the immaterial, the highest quality of material payment — a bar of pure gold. Incredible as it may seem, I have actually sold a number of these pictorial immaterial states.

So much could be said about my adventure in the immaterial and the void that the result would be an overly extended pause while steeped in the present elaboration of a written painting.

Painting no longer appeared to me to be functionally related to the gaze, since during the blue monochrome period of 1957 I became aware of what I called the pictorial sensibility. This pictorial sensibility exists beyond our being and yet belongs in our sphere. We hold no right of possession over life itself. It is only by the intermediary of our taking possession of sensibility that we are able to purchase life. Sensibility enables us to pursue life to the level of its base material manifestations, in the exchange and barter that are the universe of space, the immense totality of nature.

Imagination is the vehicle of sensibility!

Transported by (effective) imagination we attain life, that very life which is absolute art itself.

Absolute art, what mortal men call with a sensation of vertigo the summum of art, materializes instantaneously. It makes its appearance in the tangible world, even as I remain at a geometrically fixed point, in the wake of extraordinary volumetric displacements with a static and vertiginous speed.

The explanation of the conditions that led me to pictorial sensibility is to be found in the intrinsic power of the monochromes of my blue period of 1957. This period of blue monochromes was the fruit of my quest for the indefinable in painting, which Delacroix the master could already intimate in this time.

From 1946 to 1956, my monochrome experiments, tried with various other colors than blue, never allowed me to lose sight of the fundamental truth of our time — namely that form, henceforth, would no longer be a simple linear value, but rather a value of impregnation. Once, in 1946, while still an adolescent, I was to sign my name on the other side of the sky during a fantastic "realistico-imaginary" journey. That day, as I lay stretched upon the beach of Nice, I began to feel hatred for birds which flew back and forth across my blue sky, cloudless sky, because they tried to bore holes in my greatest and most beautiful work.

Birds must be eliminated.

Thus, we humans will have acquired the right to evolve in full liberty without any physical and spiritual constraint.

Neither missiles nor rockets nor sputniks will render man the "conquistador" of space.

Those means derive only from the phantom of today’s scientists who still live in the romantic and sentimental spirit of the XIX century.

Man will only be able to take possession of space through the terrifying forces, the ones imprinted with peace and sensibility. He will be able to conquer space — truly his greatest desire — only after having realized the impregnation of space by his own sensibility. His sensibility can even read into the memory of nature, be it of the past, of the present and of the future!

It is our true extra-dimensional capacity for action!

If proofs, precedents or predecessors are needed, let me then cite Dante, who in the Divine Comedy, described with absolute precision what no traveler of his time could reasonably have discovered, the invisible constellation of the Northern Hemisphere known as the Southern Cross;

Jonathan Swift, in his Voyage to Laputa, gave the distances and periods of rotation of the satellites of Mars though they were unknown at the time;

When the American astronomer, Asoph Hall, discovered them in 1877, he realized his measurements were the same as those of Swift. Seized by panic, he named them Phobos and Deimos, Fear and Terror! With these two words — Fear and Terror — I find myself before you in the year 1946, ready to dive into the void.

Long Live the Immaterial!

And now,

Thank you for your kind attention.

Yves Klein

Hotel Chelsea, New York, 1961

Nicolas Bourriaud and Transitivity

Reading Bourriaud's writing, I was interested in looking further into transitivity of art. He says, "It is a tangible property of the artwork. Without it, the work is nothing other than a dead object, crushed by contemplation." The Latin derivative of the word translates into a passing over. It is also something that affects something else, a transitional or intermediate phase. I am not positive how something that is transitive could be viewed as a tangible property, but rather the idea that empowered the work of art, but now is transitory, fleeting and depending solely on the viewer. How do you view Bourriaud's statement? Do you think that all art is transitory? Can you keep it from being so?

Nicolas Bourriaud, born in 1965, is a French curator and art critic. His writing on relational aesthetics played a huge role for artists during the 1990's and possibly changed the way artist's conceived of their work thereafter.

I found the following to be extremely interesting and relative to our subject.
Below is an excerpt from the website of:
Creativity and Cognition Studios
Sydney, Australia

Artwork as social interstice
The possibility of a relational art (an art taking as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space), points to a radical upheaval of the aesthetic, cultural and political goals introduced by modern art. To sketch a sociology of this, this evolution stems essentially from the birth of a world-wide urban culture, and from the extension of this city model to more or less all cultural phenomena. The general growth of towns and cities, which took off at the end of the Second World War, gave rise not only to an extraordinary upsurge of social exchanges, but also to much greater individual mobility (through the development of networks and roads, and telecommunications, and the gradual freeing-up of isolated places, going with the opening-up of attitudes). Because of the crampedness of dwelling spaces in this urban world, there was, in tandem, a scaling-down of furniture and objects, now emphasising a greater manoeuvrability. If, for a long period of time, the artwork has managed to come across as a luxury, lordly item in this urban setting (the dimensions of the work, as well as those of the apartment, helping to distinguish between their owner and the crowd), the development of the function of artworks and the way they are shown attest to a growing urbanisation of the artistic experiment. What is collapsing before our very eyes is nothing other than this falsely aristocratic conception of the arrangement of works of art, associated with the feeling of territorial acquisition. In other words, it is no longer possible to regard the contemporary work as a space to be walked through (the "owner's tour" is akin to the collector's). It is henceforth presented as a period of time to be lived through, like an opening to unlimited discussion. The city has ushered in and spread the hands on experience: it is the tangible symbol and historical setting of the state of society, that "state of encounter imposed on people", to use Althusser's expression, contrasting with that dense and "trouble-free" jungle which the natural state once was, according to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a jungle hampering any lasting encounter. Once raised to the power of an absolute rule of civilization, this system of intensive encounters has ended up producing linked artistic practices: an art form where the substrate is formed by inter-subjectivity, and which takes being-together as a central theme, the "encounter" between beholder and picture, and the collective elaboration of meaning. Let us leave the matter of the historicity of this phenomenon on one side: art has always been relational in varying degrees, i.e. a factor of sociability and a founding principle of dialogue. One of the virtual properties of the image is its power of linkage (Fr. reliance), to borrow Michel Maffesoli's term: flags, logos, icons, signs, all produce empathy and sharing, and all generate bond. Art (practices stemming from painting and sculpture which come across in the form of an exhibition) turns out to be particularly suitable when it comes to expressing this hands-on civilisation, because it tightens the space of relations, unlike TV and literature which refer each individual person to his or her space of private consumption, and also unlike theatre and cinema which bring small groups together before specific, unmistakable images. Actually, there is no live comment made about what is seen (the discussion time is put off until after the show). At an exhibition, on the other hand, even when inert forms are involved, there is the possibility of an immediate discussion, in both senses of the term. I see and perceive, I comment, and I evolve in a unique space and time. Art is the place that produces a specific sociability. It remains to be seen what the status of this is in the set of "states of encounter" proposed by the City. How is an art focused on the production of such forms of conviviality capable of re-launching the modern emancipation plan, by complementing it? How does it permit the development of new political and cultural designs? Before giving concrete examples, it is well worth reconsidering the place of artworks in the overall economic system, be it symbolic or material, which governs contemporary society. Over and above its mercantile nature and its semantic value, the work of art represents a social 0. This interstice term was used by Karl Marx to describe trading communities that elude the capitalist economic context by being removed from the law of profit: barter, merchandising, autarkic types of production, etc. The interstice is a space in human relations which fits more or less harmoniously and openly into the overall system, but suggests other trading possibilities than those in effect within this system. This is the precise nature of the contemporary art exhibition in the arena of representational commerce: it creates free areas, and time spans whose rhythm contrasts with those structuring everyday life, and it encourages an inter-human commerce that differs from the "communication zones" that are imposed upon us. The presentday social context restricts the possibilities of inter-human relations all the more because it creates spaces planned to this end. Automatic public toilets were invented to keep streets clean. The same spirit underpins the development of communication tools, while city streets are swept clean of all manners of relational dross, and neighbourhood relationships fizzle. The general mechanisation of social functions gradually reduces the relational space.
Art is a state of encounter.

Nov 7, 2009

Having Access to the Creative Process?

I read the Bourriaud article first and couldn't help but think of our conversation about Stella's Tilted Arc in relation to some of the interactive art described in his essay...

so it was interesting to have the arc referenced in the first page of the Kwon article:

"the board members of Sculpture Chicago were shocked to be told 'You're fooling yourself if you think by seeing a sculptor weld two pieces of steel together, somebody has a sense what art-making is'...Jacob's desire to shift the role of the viewer from passive spectator to active art maker became one of the central goals of Culture in Action and this project's scale and ambition, and the discussions it generated ... remains unrivaled in the post-Tilted Arc era."

what is a powerful yet subtle way to discuss site/public interaction (via the body?) or the idea of art-making without having to either put artists on display for people to watch or to create overly exaggerated "moments" for public to experience?

the residue of art: Clegg and Guttman

“There is an increasing prevalence of exhibitions comprising documentation and the residue of art that has happened elsewhere, rather than self-contained art objects. This `elsewhere' might be another museum or gallery. More likely it is a site defined to some degree by it not being a gallery. When placed in a gallery these artefacts undergo some presentational grooming to make them look more at home - that is, to look more like art. The Open Public Library began with three bookcases placed in selected locations in the suburbs of Graz, stuffed with books to be freely borrowed, and inviting additional donations from interested users. Contrary to pessimistic expectations, these small-scale unpoliced institutions thrived. Two years after the project ended the artists returned to conduct interviews with residents about their response.


This is an interesting interview clip with Nicolas Bourriaud discussing the end of postmodernism and the era of, what he coins, altermodern.

Nov 6, 2009

5.Craft as Social Practice

Nov 18th


Discussion: Art as social practice. community and collaboration. practice as research. Is jewelry relational aesthetics?

Group Assignment: present a proposal for a collaborative, site-specific project that deals with jewelry in a ”relational” way.


- Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (2002) p. 25-40

- Miwon Kwon, One site after another (2002) cap 4 p. 100-137

Student presentations:

- On Joseph Beuys and the notion of social sculpture

- Sandra Alfoldy, NeoCraft (2007)

- Peter Dormer, The Culture of Craft

Supplementary readings: Shu Hung and Joseph Magliaro By hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art (2007)

Bring: Manifestos (readings) and a proposal for subject and title for your final presentation

Nov 3, 2009

Second Skin

SkinBag is a synthetic skin that is available in an assortment of colors, design and even personalizations such as scarifications. Is the material created by SkinBag an innovative idea of site specific design? I am not entirely convinced.

sense, site-specific art, transitional objects

Physiological methods of perception such as see, smell, touch, hear, taste are fundamental elements helping human to recognize not-me objects. The more children experience the bodily sensation, the more they will have variable emotions and sense of creativeness. The transitional objects must hold all of these experienced sensations and become memories.

These days, the site-specific art is more about human perception, which is fleeting, temporary, ungrounded things which artists make.

Could we say that transitional experience is a kind of the site-specific art?

Jewelry and The Body as Site in Relation to Freud's Psychosexual Stages of Development

Kendal wrote:
"Do we as jewelers have a greater appreciation for the body as a form? Do we see the body as somehow detached from the person because we use it for different means?"

I really liked this insightful question and it comforted me that it was posed by a female- I ask myself questions like this all the time and what I get hung up on is relating my objective perspective to my gender. The idea that  my scopophilia and fixation on the 'activation-potential' of the body could be attributed to some latent cross-gender interest in creating adornment is a huge revelation.

In coming to this epiphany, first -Thanks Kendal!, second -I waned to insert some additional Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory into the mix for you all to embrace or negate. In 1905 Sigmund Freud wrote Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality wherein he put forth an explanation for the sexual development of a person from infancy to adolescence, a concept he called psychosexual development. It consists of five stages each of which relate to a specific area of the body and the realization or denial  of an instinctual sexual appetite associated  with that body part.

The transitional object could then nurture awareness of erogenous zones creating a reciprocal relationship that as adults we continue to serve through making jewelry from which we derive erotic satisfaction from.

If you'd like to read more about Freud's theory of psychosexual development, wikipedia's synopsis is pretty succinct: