For you on this Valentine's Day. (See Robleto @ ~7:00 min)
Dario Robleto & Frank Summers
& Other Curious Appetites
A little dated, but valuable nevertheless.
"Recent performance-based work by 2005-6 Center Fellow Pia Lindman looks at the difference between mimesis and embodiment. In efforts to distinguish biological and biomechanical realities of emotion from affect (the social manifestation of emotion), Lindman performs reenactments of both machines and humans. During Summer and Fall 2005, Lindman "learned" the habits of the robots and their makers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Media Lab. Her work was on view at MIT Museum's Compton Gallery in Spring 2006. + Born in Espoo, Finland, Pia Lindman received her MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Finland, and then as a Fulbright scholar received a Master of Science in Visual Studies from MIT’s Visual Art Program where, in 2004-5, she was also a lecturer. In New York, Lindman has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center; Luxe Gallery; the lab gallery, and was in residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She has also shown in Mexico, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, the UK, Norway, France, and Japan. In New York she has performed with the LMCC, The Sculpture Center, and the lab gallery; upcoming venues include Artists Space (PERFORMA 05), Andrew Kreps Gallery, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics; international performance venues include Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City; Kunsthalle and Kiasma, Helsinki; AnnArt, Romania; Galleri QQ, Krakow; and Jutempus, Vilnius, among others. Her video series Thisplace is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Lindman has lectured at Columbia University, Yale, NYU, RISD, and Institut Française d'Architecture in Paris and has received numerous awards, including those from Arts Council of Finland, FRAME (Finnish Fund for Art Exchange), and the Council for the Arts at MIT. Her essay on her artwork New York Times 09/02-09/03 was published 2005 in the book Art in the Age of Terrorism: Gestures in the Space of the Unspeakable edited by Graham Coulter-Smith and Maurice Owen."
Update: What I’m working on these days.
I’m in the thick of conducting research for a thesis titled “Toward an Art of Social Conscience: Practices in Memory, Resistance and Re-Enchantment.” My rudimentary argument is posted below. It will undoubtedly undergo a series of changes as I ply through the literature and refine my thesis in the upcoming months.
Based on the following framework, I assert that the incorporation of sociohistorical narratives and other memory practices in contemporary artwork transforms art objects into sites of ‘social conscience,’ which I operationally define as ‘with knowledge of the other’ and believe to be an important motivational precursor to social action.
1. Objects have cultural biographies. Therefore it can be said that objects have lives, not just histories. In the least objects have a semiotic life which the beholder codes/decodes. With this in mind, I posit that objects store/preserve (a quality I refer to as memory in situ), invoke/evoke, transfer (e.g., via positive and negative contagion) and reconstruct sociohistorical and other collective memory narratives.
2. Art is a form of resistance, sui generis, in that, as Georg Simmel asserts, it is suspended above life, distanced from it, while simultaneously connected to its deepest reality. Theodor Adorno more forcefully expresses this relationship when he states that art, as a product of social work, communicates with the very empirical reality it rejects. Thus artwork by default is put in tension with reality. Moreover, it maintains this dialectic of resistance by taking life as its subject, even if only remotely or abstractly, and making of that life an object. (I believe there is an important distinction between taking life as subject vs. the grammatical object.) This process of taking and making the subject into an object then continues in the reverse, by way of the viewer taking the object and (re)personalizing it as subject. I detect in this dialectical relationship between the object and its beholder the idea, eloquently stated by Hans-Georg Gadamer, that texts, and therefore their histories, interpret us as much as we interpret them. In this manner, the artwork’s sui generis resistance produces a social nexus wherein the universal is made personal and the personal is made universal.
3. Art re-enchants everyday life. Because of its de facto state of resistance, and thus its unique social nexus, art is especially equipped to make alternative cultural and sociohistorical narratives visible. These narratives, however, are not proscriptive; they do not impose a restrictive reading or interpretation. Rather, they present an opportunity for the autonomous remaking of knowledge, understanding, and meaning. Their inclusion constitutes a social emancipatory force, which I identify as the power of re-enchantment.*
4. The dynamic constellation of memory, resistance and re-enchantment within the art object (re)produces and strengthens social conscience. With this in mind, I believe art operates as both a locus and agent of social conscience in the following manner:
a) Art, by its very own suspension from and tension with reality, suspends the self, i.e., the identified self of the viewer.
b) Standing before and confronting the art object, the self is placed in tension with the artwork’s subject, the narrative content of the work.
c) The art object thus produces a dialectical tension that orients the self toward its subject, a position which potentiates experience and knowledge of the other (i.e., social conscience), creating a veritable nexus between the personal and universal, and correspondingly, the individual and social self.
d) Within the liminal space of this nexus—that is to say, the juncture of the unresolved dialectic between self and other—personal restoration of meaning (re-enchantment) occurs through individual and collective memory practices involving semiotic coding and decoding, a process which in turn shapes and directs social conscience.
*Re-enchantment, as I conceive it, is the autonomous restoration of meaning, an act which by its very nature resists the hyper-rationalization of the proverbial Iron Cage while at the same time stimulating and strengthening social conscience.
The final paper will include analyses of, and examples from, works by Dario Robleto, Norm Magnusson and Kara Walker. I’m steeped in literature at the moment and slowly getting artist interviews transcribed. Apart from research, I’m busy parenting, working, and getting the house ready to put on the market in spring. Khalan begins college in the fall of 2012 and in 2013 I shall begin a Ph.D. program, not sure where yet.
Note: Text copyright 2011 Anne Marie Champagne.
An excellent feature, which ties into a thesis I'm writing on movements toward an art of social conscience. Reminds me of something Rothko wrote: "Choice implies responsibility to one's conscience, and, in the conscience of the artist, the Truth of Art is foremost."
Visit: FRONTLINE | The Atomic Artists | PBS
I quite enjoy Hunter's bold simplicity. Her cutouts, collages and block prints are strong, sometimes quaint and wistful, but always, to my mind, invigorating and life affirming.
The first work of hers I stumbled upon was "She Smiles" (pictured here). Viewing it, I can't help but feel overcome with a sense of resiliency, the strength of this woman's heart fueled by, not what I've come to read as a smile of joy but, rather, confidence. Of course, that is an entirely personal interpretation; I know virtually nothing of the artist or her work. I only know what I like.
To see more more work by Kathryn Hunter, visit Blackbird Letterpress.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take... but by the number of moments that take our breath away... "I'm pleased to present "California Stars," an Art on Wry special request, created by Belgian media artist and musician Nicolas Delfosse.