Monday, October 16, 2006

What Is to Be Done?

Everyone I'd asked about "Chto delat?" (or "What is to be done?"...the collective of philosphers, visual artists, writers, etc. based in Moscow and St. Petersburg [their name is taken from the 1863 novel of the same title by Nicholai Chernyshevsky]) prefaced their description for me with a slightly condescending warning: "Oh-h-h-h, they're very intellectual."

This consistent response to my inquiries began to give me a complex...just how dumb do folks think I am? Seriously, it was said nearly everytime I asked, as if to imply "Why are you worrying your silly little head over what they're doing...just keep focusing on sheep's eyes and such."

But I had heard about them in New York, seen a few of their contributions to group exhibitions here, and was delighted to realize that one of their members would be participating in the same panel discussion we had been invited to in I persisted. I wanted to learn more.

Before orchestrating an introduction, though, I stopped in to view their installation at the 3rd Bishkek Exhibition of Contemporary Art. Outside their room was pasted a page of newsprint with huge bold text reading: "Be the Change You Want to See in the World." Inside was projected a fascinating documentary film about the G8 protestors who were corralled into a stadium in St. Petersburg (rather than be permitted to protest where any of the world's leaders [or anyone else for that matter] might see or hear them). Lining the walls of the installation were other pages from the newspaper. On a low table were also stacks of the 14th Issue (September 2006) of the collective's regularly published platform newspaper. This issue focusses on the topic of how change can be brought about through self-education. It's very well written (and/or translated)---published in English and Russian---with several fascinating articles and interviews (although edited to reveal a few too many assumed shared definitions and assessments, and too heavy a reliance on name dropping, for my taste, but... ). The 14th issue isn't yet availble on their website. The excerpts from the opening editorial below were re-typed by me (any typos are most likely mine):

Today, education values are obviously in crisis all over the world. One of the symptoms can be found in the decline of both theories and practices based on the disciplinary, humanist ideal of education, which traditionally empowered their subjects not only a sense of civic rights and responsibilities, but also the means for changing and overturning the present state of affairs. Learning solidarity, dignity, historical subjectivity, and the ability to participate in political life is no longer an irreplaceable part of the eductional process. Moreover, disciplinary autonomy no longer shields this process from market encroachment, especially when its basis in state funding erodes. Education has effectively become an instrument or bargaining chip used in corporate market politics, which are only interested in producing a cost-efficient, obedient work force. The growing servility of education to market demands represents a serious threat to any creativity or vibrancy in a society's development.
OK, so at this point, I'm climbing up on furniture, stomping my feet, punching the air, draping myself in Red, and yelling "Viva La Revolution!!!"

But, alas, it gets a bit complicated after that:

We can resist by spreading and producing alternative forms of knowledge that continue and further develop the emancipatory traditions to be found in a variety of educational practices, thus unlocking the potentiality of a new constellation in society's forces of production.

Such tendencies find their reflection in contemporary art. We see them in the manifold refusals to engage in mythologization and commodity fetishism, the construction of non-hierarchial collectives, and the desire to found artistic practice on various methods of militant research. New "subjects of dissent" in art and culture seek to create "spaces for participation." Such projects in contemporary art have an inalienable self-educational value and might even provide a real alternative to the hegemony of schools and academies.
To their immense credit, "What is to be done?" ask for discourse, rather than just offer their solutions. The same editorial begins:

How do people shape their surroundings? Which points of reference guide their development? Which potentiality do self-organizing structures entail? How should they structure their relationships to existing institutions? Could they ever replace traditional forms of education? Or can they place enough pressure on institutions to make them get involved in the (auto)didactic process?
But there are a number of red flags in those questions for me--- again, a number of assumptions and/or ambiguities that I would prefer be clarified---so, I set off to ask questions.

Sergey Ogurtsov (who is a member, but not one of the initial 10 core members from what I can tell on their website) greeted me pleasantly enough. He's a tall, youngish, handsome man with a ponytail and beard. He said he'd be happy to tell me more about his collective if we could figure out what time made sense (we were at the exhibition's opening). I indicated that I would be looking forward to his lecture the following day as well.

But then things got awkward.

Sergey asked the curator and organizer, Muratbek Djumaliev (who had just introduced us), what time his (Sergey's) lecture would be the next day. Muratbek said the panel discussion began at 10:00 am and that Sergey was scheduled to speak first. Sergey made it very clear to a surprised Muratbek that this simply would not do. No one would attend a lecture so early in Russia, Sergey said. Muratbek charmingly, but firmly, noted that Bishkek was not Russia (a statement that appears to takes on much greater significance in this context the more I think about it). They went a few rounds, with Sergey showing little sign of relenting, making me somewhat uncomfortable (and I assumed also making Eva, a curator from Armenia with us, who was also scheduled to lecture, uncomfortable), so I announced that I would be very happy to go first. This seemed to settle the matter and should have let the awkward moment whither, had Sergey not continued (as if to justify this new order of speakers), "People always expect the most interesting lecture to be last." I looked to Eva, who's actually a friend of Sergey's I believe, to see if she also felt dissed, but saw no indications of such. OK, I'm thinking, he's either socially inept or tossing down a gauntlet. Either way, this was not the place to engage in a duel, so I let it pass.

Later at the reception dinner, feeling relaxed after a few shots of really good vodka, I sat down next to Sergey to see if we couldn't try again. I mentioned how the collective was very highly regarded in the States, how I blogged on politics, and again how I looked forward to his lecture. The exchange went more smoothly this time (he can be very engaging, he's super smart, and we were at a party after all). Still, through a series of comments, he made it clear that as a commercial gallerist I more or less epitomized the essence of the one of the problems his collective sought to solve, at least that's how I interpreted his comments with regards to contemporary art. I tried to highlight the less commercial projects we exhibit, wanting him to at least let his guard down long enough to see I wasn't a raging uber-capitalist with dollar-green ink for blood, but I'm now somewhat certain that's a distinction without a signficance to him.

I had actually anticipated a bit of this response to my participation in the panel discussion, and had asked my friend, the incredibly smart himself artist and curator Christopher Ho, how to craft my lecture to acknowledge or compensate for my symbolism in this series of lectures from otherwise very uncommercial points of view. Chris suggested I go with the "Greed is Good" approach and hit the issue head on, not apologizing. Not that Chris is in that mold of artist or curator himself mind you, just that he understood what my role in the overall panel was and that it was appropriate for me to do it justice. I'm glad I asked. (By the way, before I arrived in Bishkek I realized that what I had thought my lecture was supposed to be on wasn't in fact correct. So all that research I had done on spaces around the world [which many of you so graciously helped me with] ended up being unapplied in that setting. In fact at least two of the spaces folks had recommended were represented at the panel discussion, so it would have been odd for me to have introduced them to the audience. Thanks for the great info, all the same though, I'm still putting it to great use.)

As I had anticipated, Sergey took advantage of the Question and Answer section of my lecture to pontificate on the lack of difference between what I described as more "conceptual" versus more "commercial" art in the presentation I made (insulting two extraordinarily good artists in the room in doing so). He did so with an introduction long enough to qualify as its own lecture, which was more than unfair to the other audience members who may have wanted to ask questions, given he had time reserved later to enlighten them on a topic of his choosing, but his translation of his statements and eventual question for me was much shorter than his original in Russian, so I suspect I have even more reason to be insulted than I knew at the time.

Anyway, we exchanged sharply phrased opinions, with him eventually asking the very question I most dreaded: why would I present the side of a commercial art gallery within the context of the exhibition we had all just seen (it's a very smart, not at all commercial, but not entirely "anti-commercial," exhibition that I'll write more about later). Thanks to Chris's suggestions, though, I was ready. Having laid the groundwork in my lecture for what the role of a commercial gallery is, it was easy enough to respond: "I agree with you that the part of the art world I represent stands in stark contrast to the essence of the exhibition we're all here to experience, but I was invited to represent just one part of a spectrum of places in which artists can exhibit their work and thereby communicate with the public, something you and I seem to agree is important. Beyond that, however, you and I are having a conversation here that's largely leaving out a big part of the audience and perhaps its better if we have it another time." Sergey agreed, and it ended there.

After two excellent presentations on art from Tajikistan and Armenia, I listened to Sergey's lecture (with Bambino translating). There's no taking away from him how compelling his message is, but I couldn't help but wish for a better (less boorish) messenger. He began by belittling the exhibition (titled "Zone of Risk"), suggesting that none of the work in it was at all "risky"...(yes, it took a great deal of restraint not to ask if he realized that he had just insulted his own installation).

I began to suspect his antagonistic opening was calculated, if not his modus operandi, to keep the audience (which was comprised mostly of artists in the exhibition) just angry enough that they listened extra carefully to his lecture, hoping to hear him trip up so they could retaliate. Indeed the Q&A segment was spirited, but Sergey held his own.

I'll confess to having done just that, waiting for an opening to return the favor he had bestowed upon me. There were several opportunities, but in the end, I realized how petty I was being and asked a question I really was curious about: was the question in the paper's editorial "Could they [self-education models] ever replace traditional forms of education?" meant to suggest that "What is to be done?" sought to end the academies? Sergey responded with a very solid and well-considered answer that impressed me, essentially noting that nothing that dramatic was either desired or needed. His answer did underline the one criticism of the collective that strikes me as most valid: they're just ambiguous enough in answering "what is to be done?" themselves, that they're not risking all that much by asking it of others.

Realizing a tit-for-tat style attack question would be petty, though, didn't stop me from asking Bambino to get a photo of Sergey with our logo behind him...just for fun:

Seriously, though, I very much like the subjects "What is to be done?" are exploring, how thoughtfully they're exploring them (you really should read their newspaper online [link above]'s wonderfully edited), and I'm impressed with the rigor of their project. Sergey may not represent the best social skills the group has to show for itself overall (he did not miss an opportunity to insult me it seemed, responding sharply when I later quite casually asked at a small gathering if all 14 issues of the newspaper were still available: "Not now, and not from me," he said quickly. (OK, dude...don't one's asking you to rush back to St. Petersburg and round them up.) And yes, normally, I'd consider whether it was not simply that something was getting lost in translation, but Sergey's English is excellent (he lived in Australia a number of years).

Still, we parted ways by me extending a sincere and open invitation to visit us in New York. I hope he does. At the very least so I can get him drunk and finally get him to relax enough to recognize a compliment when it's repeatedly offered.


Anonymous David said...

If Sergey is the change he wants to see in the world, I hope that change doesn't happen.

10/16/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger hlowe said...

I found your analysis of this extremely interesting and this Sergey fellow IS asking pertinent questions of the art world, or the world, for that matter. The fact that he is a bit curst doesn't matter. He is trying to wipe the slate clean and that is always good. I am sure that he appreciated your thoughts, if he is as intelligent as you observed.

10/16/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The fact that he is a bit curst doesn't matter.

I disagree. The medium is the message, always. The world Sergey seems to want, if he is indeed being it, strikes me as joyless and rude. That's hardly going to sell. His message is so compelling without that, he's only hurting his cause by being that way, imo.

He is trying to wipe the slate clean and that is always good.

Images of babies flying out windows with bathwater come to mind.

10/17/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger onesock said...

This guy sounds as if he is on the opposite end of the spectrum to our present w.h. administration. What is to be done? Well, many things, but the first thing to be done is to realize that listening to other perspectives, bouncing ideas between each other generally results in solutions or at least a more nuanced understanding.

Looking at the site i find many interesting ideas to chew on. And perhaps in our age of the big art fairs and such it makes sense to critically examine the market's affect toward art itself. But one must also acknowledge the fact that artists like Acconci and Mary Kelly used the commercial system,no? And today we have artists such as Tom Hirshhorn and Tino Sehgal in galleries. So here we have another case of fundamentalism not cutting it, IMO.

10/17/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger hlowe said...

Well, I am etching right now and "wiping" is an art!

But I can understand how those words may get construed in the message.
Clinging to "medium is the message" can really lead you into dangerous bottomless ground, IMO.

10/17/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Clinging to "medium is the message" can really lead you into dangerous bottomless ground, IMO.

Not following. Can you elaborate in this context?

10/17/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger hlowe said...

"Can you elaborate in this context?"

I only meant(in this context) that at times when change or new ideas spring forth, it is not always pleasant. I have been witness to many such occasions in my life, some painful memories where a great lesson was learned. This fellow may not be the best spokesman, but he has already generated some thought and influence. (I always liked the original thought, anyway: "The Medium is the Massage.")

10/17/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I don't disagree that change takes struggle (Sergey and I agreed on that). But the message he's promoting is countered by how he's promoting it. "Be the change you want to see in the world," may not be that easy to apply in a heated debate, but it should most certainly be easy to apply in social settings. Otherwise, what could it possibly mean?

There are very good examples of revolutionaries who lived the message (Ghandi, King, etc. etc.). I guess I'm disappointed in Sergey mostly because I'm so very interested in his message, but he keeps pushing me away through his actions.

10/17/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous jason said...

because I'm so very interested in his message, but he keeps pushing me away through his actions.

It sounds like he didn't have any interest in convincing you, as your position as an art-capitalist marks you as somewhat of an enemy to his group's agenda. If you actually stood up there and made the "greed is good" argument, then I'm not surprised he was rude to you -- it's deeply offensive to many of us, and the absolute antithesis to the anti-globalization/anti-capitalist movement(which Sergey's comments seem in solidarity with). The fact is, the revolution has already begun, and you appear to have chosen the side of the capitalist establishment.

But don't worry E_, I still have hope for you :)

10/17/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Forgive me for using your comment as the example here Jason, but it illustrates perfectly the hurdle the revolution is placing in front of itself: it's so sure it's right, it doesn't bother to listen to the other side.

I made huge efforts to make it clear I was interested in "What is to be done?"'s message. I did not at any time at all say "Greed is good," per se, I merely stood firm on my belief that in addition to noncommercial spaces, there is a role for commercial spaces in promoting art, and Sergey had been rude to me long before the panel discussion, which I note in the post, so your implied defense of his actions suggests you're more interested in championing his ideas than you are in understanding the situtation I've described (again, baby, bathwater, etc. etc.).

The fact is, the revolution has already begun, and you appear to have chosen the side of the capitalist establishment.

I discussed this very issue with Sergey and saw a grim realization cross his face when I noted that although I'm all for revolution, I tend to be a bit concerned for what happens to the revolutionaries during the counter-revolution.

But don't worry E_, I still have hope for you :)

The feeling is mutual. :-)

10/17/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

..."wiping" is an art!
hlowe, is this in response to EW's babies and bathwater comment? :)

The world Sergey seems to want, if he is indeed being it, strikes me as joyless and rude.

I agree. If their message was "talk about the change..." then I guess you could partly excuse him, because maybe he knows he hasn't been able to achieve it yet. But if in fact he is the change, then no thanks! We already have people like that running our country, even if on the surface their politics seem to be the polar opposite. Their real message is "I'm right, you're wrong; why should I listen to you or be cordial?"

EW, I certainly don't embrace the "greed is good" position, but it seems that Sergey could have engaged you in a conversation about it rather than being a jerk. As far as jason's assertion that the the revolution has already begun, like all other revolutions it will be absorbed into the market.

10/17/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger onesock said...

I used to be 100% pro non-commercial art space guy ( and anti commercial) because that is where I expected to find true freedom of thought. But I later realized that that may or may not be the case. Art by selection committee can be just as backward thinking as art by guy with dollar signs for eyes. Plus, a revolutionarily minded gallerist can have a very progressive program.

10/17/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

EW, I certainly don't embrace the "greed is good" position,

No, I don't either. I should have explained better what Chris meant by that.

Essentially, the idea is that wanting what a commercial gallery can give an artist can have good side effects, as well as obviously negative ones. I wasn't invited to represent the alternative not-for-profit spaces POV, so it behooved me to do the commercial gallery POV justice and not apologize, despite the context being somewhat hostile.

I recall what Lippard noted in the intro to a revised version of The Pink Glass Swan about how she still believed in a better system for art than the highly commerical gallery system, but that as long as it exists she would fight for equal opportunities for access to it for women artists.

I wholly agree with that. To suggest that just because the commodification and fetishization of art creates problems (and some very bad art being celebrated) that no artist should participate in the commercial gallery system strikes me as masochistic.

Artist who avoid the commercial side of the art world are NOT de facto better solely because of that choice. Some art can't exist within the system, yes. Some artists choose to ignore the system, yes. But excellent artists participate within the system and sometimes they just happen to be better artists than those who don't.

In the end, the more options there are for artists, the better, IMO. Not all options are right for all artists, but the kind of short-sighted snobbery against the commercial world I see in many quarters would be much easier to accept if it coincided consistently with obviously better art.

10/17/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous jason said...

E_: it's so sure it's right, it doesn't bother to listen to the other side ... your implied defense of his actions suggests you're more interested in championing his ideas than you are in understanding the situtation.

Why should understanding the situation require that I agree with your point of view? I think you're confusing 'listening' with 'agreeing.' To be more clear regarding Sergey's rudeness, while I may agree with his ideas, I share your lack of fondness for his tactics. In this case, it may have prevented him from seeing that you're a thoughtful, rational gallerist capable of engaged discussion -- albeit a capitalist. I'm more of a fan of persuasion than forceful bludgeoning, but I doubt that advocating change can always be polite.

E_: I noted that although I'm all for revolution


D: like all other revolutions it will be absorbed into the market

Uh ... the whole point is to abolish the market and replace it with a system that is more humane.

10/17/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Uh ... the whole point is to abolish the market and replace it with a system that is more humane.

That's more radical than anything Sergey advocated. He noted in fact that his collective had sold work. There may be subtle degrees of what constitutes a "market" between what we have and not selling at all that are lost on me, but in general, if you're happy to sell, then you seem to be pro-market to some degree, no?

Why should understanding the situation require that I agree with your point of view?

It shouldn't, but you suggested that perhaps Sergey was rude because I had said "Greed is good," and my response was that you didn't read or understand my post, because it was clear that he had been fude before my lecture.


In a Jefferson sense, not a Lenin sense.

10/17/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

"rude"...he had been "rude" before my lecture...he had never, to my knowledge, been "fude"

10/17/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger onesock said...

I think being rude at dinner time is "fude" :) its a snigglet!

10/17/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Uh ... the whole point is to abolish the market and replace it with a system that is more humane.

Cool. Good luck.

10/17/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. Another collective. Are they incorporated? (Inc.) Women?

Is it a “political” group hiding behind or abusing art? Most likely.

One problem:
You can’t discuss or understand their motives completely within the context of art or History of Art. The objectivity of Political Science is required not the passion and compromised views of Columbia U.’s critics and historians (and others). To give you an example… .


10/17/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I remember hearing Abbie Hoffman speak years ago. It was between the time he came out of hiding and when he had to appear for sentencing. Someone in the audience asked him what he thought about fellow Yippie Jerry Rubin, who at the time was working on Wall Street (actually I think he was here in L.A., but doing something w/ investments). Hoffman said "Jerry is my friend, and friendship is more important than politics."

If someone says "be the change you want to see in the world", I would hope they'd be more like Hoffman than like Sergey. It's all very nice to be a revolutionary, but if your vision of the world can't include treating other people decently I'm not interested.

10/17/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Ok frankly, this all sound a little silly to me, no offense intended.

Ironically I was just discussing this topic elsewhere. It seems Sergey wanted to express that for him "the gallery is the message", and that every art that enters it looses its original sense as it automatically becomes an object of luxury for sale. I don't see anything wrong with that view, it's a philosophical basis.

I was attaking commercial gallerists elsewhere for being the reason our museums look more like a collection of flat-wall luxury objects than a space of true artistic experiments like happen in art centres, and the simple reason is that there is no collector base for true experimental art. People want your slick objects, paintings and photographs, so galleries sell them, and tell to museums that is the art people buy so it must be the real cool "avant" art, ad we end up running in circles like this.

Ok maybe some commercial gallerist, maybe Winkleman, are trying to make a difference, but I have drastically compared in Canada the type of contemporary art that our museums collect (all coming from a handful of commercial gallerists here), and how it wasn't representative at all to what is occuring in our art centres. In museum we seem to merely get the fine practical commercial residue.

I think commercial gallery can be dangerously serve as filter for contemporary art and that ends up shaping notions about what is good art and these notions tend to remain conservative.

Sergey has the right to read antagonism in what he feels might, with all best intent, only serve to promote conservative art interests.


Cedric Caspesyan

10/18/2006 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Sergey has the right to read antagonism in what he feels might, with all best intent, only serve to promote conservative art interests.

If I were the only one Sergey were consistently insulting, I might agree with your assessment, Cedric. But given as he also soundly insulted the organizers and other artists in the exhibition, I'll stand by my initial assessment that he's not the best messenger, even for a "commercial gallerists are fair game for rude behavior, merely through their being" message.

10/18/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger kurt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/18/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Why do people felt hurted by Sergey anyway?

When someone acts foolishly, just laugh. Who is that guy?

If an artist feel offended when presenting a work that should always be a good thing. We should never assume that what we present is perfect. Art is always a failure.

I wasn't present at this talk so given that half what someone said is hidden in its tone, I can't really comment. I'm trying to follow arguments here but not the way they've been expressed.


Cedric Caspesyan

10/18/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Why do people felt hurted by Sergey anyway?When someone acts foolishly, just laugh.

Cedric, that's my response, to just laugh. It isn't his work (which I know nothing about) that is a failure, but his behavior. The fact that his group says "be the change you want to see..." means you have to looks at him as an example of what he wants to see in the world. From his example I can conclude that he and I want the world to change in different ways.

10/18/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Why do people felt hurted by Sergey anyway?

It's not's disappointment.

I sought him out. I was very eager to hear about his group's ideas. He pushed me away, because, I assume, he saw me as part of the problem.

That's a wasted opportunity on his part to illustrate to me his point of view.

The only conclusion I can come to in trying to assess why he would betray his own message this way is that he won't deal with those he sees as part of the problem until they come around to his way of acting/thinking. That's hardly going to be a model for great success and it's boring to boot.

Arghhh! I really wanted to learn from the exchange, but spent so much time being defensive. What a waste.

10/18/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I don't think is AT ALL new or original. Everything about it looks familiar. The graphics are familiar. The headlines are familiar. The articles and the ideas they contain are also familiar. The whole enterprise seems completely tired, lame and unoriginal.

10/20/2006 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger de Selby said...

Cedric Caspesyan talks about "true experimental art." And what is that Cedric? Are you really that sure you will know it when you see it?

10/20/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I'd know it if I saw it. There'd be test tubes. And also, someone keeping track. If you don't keep track it's not a real experiment.

10/20/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger prettylady said...

Edward, darling, you are My Hero. I do not know if I know another individual as polite as you. You are one of the few who Get It; that it is not about convincing the other person to come round to one's own point of view, it is the establishment of channels of non-defensive communication that is the central issue. Whatever a person's perspective, if that individual couches their attitude in terms of unbreachable oppositionality, that person is living a lie. And, moreover, is well on the road to the establishment of a totalitarian system.

I, personally, would not have had one-tenth of the patience with this boorish individual that you seem to have displayed. Which is why it is a very great blessing that you are in Bishkek and not I.

10/20/2006 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

De Selby:

Definitely. If I had better writting skills, I'd be a curator.
It's the one thing I feel confident about myself.

Experimental appears in many spheres. It can be technological
(I just came back from the first worldwide official Ipod video battle), but mostly the experimental art of today doesn't necessarely occurs in the official art spheres (that is, when it knows that it is art).

Now, unless a gang of people act in secret with no interest of ever showing or talk about what they do, I consider myself skilled in keeping up current with activities happening in many spheres in as many geographies

Is it still possible to be experimental? Well the wheel is hard to re-invent, but they are some artforms that are still being poorly represented by institutions.

The trustable measure is to always follow (and be aware of) technology. If you are able to follow what art uses or emulates or talks about whatever new technologies that are around and their social implications (biogenetics whatsoever), you are sure to keep at least a good 20 per cent in touch with what is experimental.

The rest is a question of travelling off the beaten paths, while not entirely cutting hopes that the wildest art can also come from the most evident sources (like a Chelsea gallery). But being too tip of the iceberg won't bring you much.


Cedric Caspesyan

"I do not know if I know another individual as polite as you."

In the third world bug country I came from, not quoting people is considered impolite. ;-P

10/20/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Oh david you would have love that installation by Spurse at the Mass Moca a couple years ago:

Hmm..maybe Sarah Sze also used some test tubes in some of her installations.

I could think it out and make a list if you really wanted.

Cedric Caspesyan

10/20/2006 11:34:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Definitely. If I had better writting skills, I'd be a curator.

But Cedric, if you had better writing skills you wouldn't be as poetic :)

No need to send a list of test tube art. I was making a silly joke.

10/21/2006 12:04:00 PM  

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