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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Uncreative Writing by Kenneth Goldsmith

What is the difference between appropriation and collage?


Maya Conran introduced in her seminar on October 25th:

Appropriation is using an element from outside to strengthen one’s personal agenda (?)

Collage is simply putting one element from outside together with another one, that does not necessarily make sense or build a narrative (?)

Compilation is putting together elements from outside in attempt to make sense or tell a story (?)


Bob Marley & climate/culture

I’m not interested in mapping out different cultures’ differences but rather the ways different climates shape us as social beings. Everything that makes up our surrounding affects how we will go about our lives and after generations that becomes a culture.

When I had my first mp3 player I listened to Bob Marley to relax and tell myself, “everything will be alright”. For me the reggae classics represented a faraway culture of spontaneity, authenticity, simplicity and warmth. Very far from Sweden – a place for sincerity, depth and dramatic contrasts etc.

US court backs family over Bob Marley shirts


El Perro Del Mar

KoKoro – El Perro Del Mar (Sarah Assbring) – Video by Nicole Walker & Hedvig Jenning

A dream of utopia where our differences in language, tradition and appearance is truly of equal value and the globalisation means exchange and confusion of the concept of nations. 

To me this work inspired to look at a basic human experience: needing to survive, wanting to progress, being steered by love and fear of not belonging, of not being meaningful.

By playing freely with non-european images and materials as white western people they are not accepting the idea that doing so is automatically privileged and disrespectful.

What is cultural appropriation?

Cultural misappropriation is when members of the majority group uses elements of a minority group that is strongly related to their singularity and cultural identity in a way that is ignorant of the minority’s status in society as underprivileged. Minorities in western cultures often have histories of being systematically oppressed, whether it is by colonisation, slavery, law enforced discrimination or simply xenophobia. (Wiki)

As a white westerner I have to be aware of the privileges I have. However being silent is not always the solution. As Roxane Gay’s saying in her “Bad Feminist: Essays”

“We need to stop playing Privilege or Oppression Olympics because we’ll never get anywhere until we find more effective ways of talking through difference. We should be able to say, “This is my truth,” and have that truth stand without a hundred clamoring voices shouting, giving the impression that multiple truths cannot coexist.”

and

“To have privilege in one or more areas does not mean you are wholly privileged. Surrendering to the acceptance of privilege is difficult, but it is really all that is expected. What I remind myself, regularly, is this: the acknowledgment of my privilege is not a denial of the ways I have been and am marginalized, the ways I have suffered.”

Is there a way to celebrate our wholeness through juxtaposing wildly with body types, attributes etc?

Is there a reason to not be celebrating our similarities rather than our differences once in awhile and can we do it, without disregarding the fact that a lot of people have been brutally oppressed through history based on their cultural and physical attributes?

As a white european I need to interview people with other origins to find out.

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The current exhibition at The Zabludovicz Collection Emotional Supply Chains involves a lot of video work, print and installation that can be extra relevant to PTBM students. The theme of the exhibition is the still very urgent subject of digitally constructed identities and stories we tell about ourselves online. The curator Paul Luckraft refers to recent writings by Laurence Scott and Boris Groys reflecting on commercialisation of identity online (i.e. algorithms that reaffirms our views on the world) and the role of the artist in a “mass cultural production”-age where everybody can be (and is probably) engaged in artistic activity. The exhibition is divided into three parts of which one goes under the title Authenticity and Artifice. Here questions are raised about the human nature, a concept that might have lost its self-evidence as the properties and patterns of technology and nature merges. However regarding identity, one can wonder if the desires to create fluid and edited alter egos online is contradictory to authentic humanness or if it is “natural”. 

I especially recommend the video piece “(You (People) Are All The Same)” by David Raymond Conroy that was commissioned specifically by The Zabludovicz Collection for this show. It is a 40 minute long video made with a lot of humour and self-revelation as an artist. If you recognize the format and find it strangely familiar and appealing like me it is probably because is very intentionally has borrowed the model of American investigative podcasts such as Serial and This American Life. It is very much a meta artwork talking about the process of the artist during his residency in Las Vegas, creating this commissioned piece however we are left uncertain where facts potentially changes over to fiction. This is valid for a several works in the exhibition, as David Blandy’s film Child of the Atom that depicts himself on a journey with his daughter with occasional voice over comments by the girl as an adult. Also don’t miss the works by Aleksandra Domanovics huge prints in the back room that deal with women’s representation in science fiction, place in creative direction of animated movies etc.

Perry Bard’s  ‘Man With a Movie Camera’, 2007-ongoing

Bard calls for remakes of scenes in a specific movie from the 20’s, gathers them and organises so that a new version of the film is presented on the work’s website everyday. Next to the remade version, the old one views simultaneously so that one can compare them.


Erwin Wurm’s instruction pieces.

  • Pullover Untitled pieces from 1992 (The Artist Who Swallowed the World)
  • 1 minute sculptures
  • Instructions on being politically incorrect

Yoko Ono’s “Grapefruit”


Miranda July’s “Learning to Love you more”

http://www.learningtoloveyoumore.com/


 

MODERNA MUSEET MALMÖ, SWEDEN

Moderna Museet Malmö is now presenting the second chapter of the extensive video-based exhibition project THE NEW HUMAN, continuing our exploration of the human condition in a rapidly changing world. This chapter of the project has the subtitle Knock, Knock, Is Anyone Home? and searches for remaining traces of human life, while examining the fading line between man and machine.

This show curated by Joa Ljungberg presented video works by Ed Atkins, Harun Farocki, Kerstin Hamilton, Helen MartenDaria Martin, Ursula Mayer, Mika Rottenberg, SUPERFLEX and Ryan Trecartin.

I FOUND THIS EXHIBITION SUPER EXCITING AND SOO RELEVANT TO MY PROJECTS. 

What engaged me the most was a film by Daria Martin (an artist whose 16mm films I had already been exposed to at the Maureen Paley gallery some weeks before) because it very straight forward dealt with posthumanism and artificial intelligence in relation to physical bodies (!!!). This video particularly inspired me to proceed with a little project that I have on the blog http://swipingetc.tumblr.com/ where i wish to explore further the translations between virtual and “real” (like I did in Marnie and the Real Pikachu in Unit 2) through kinesthetics.
SOFT MATERIALS, video, 2004

Soft Materials was shot in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich where scientists research ‘embodied artificial intelligence’. This cutting edge area of AI produces robots which, rather than being programmed from the ‘head down’ by a computer ‘brain’, instead learn to function through the experience of their physical bodies.

Soft Materials introduces to these robots two performers, one man and one woman, trained in body awareness, acutely sensitive to the nuances of movement, primed to mimic the robots in a play of reciprocity. These performers shed skins of soft fabric, bear their joints like the frank structure of a machine, and, nude, approach the robots as if they were sentient beings. Creating intimate relationships that are in turns tender, funny and eerie, they bend flexible human fantasy around tough materials.

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Also it relates somewhat to Soul Chain and my overall research. Quotes from the introduction to the show:

Several of the works in this chapter seem to point to a shift—perhaps a regression in human evolution, or a transformation into something new.

New technologies have the capacity to infiltrate our bodies and turn us into cyborgs, thus dissolving the categories we have used to divide the world into opposites, like living and non-living or natural and artificial.

The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way we relate to the world and to each other, and there is no longer a clear dividing line between actual reality and virtual reality.

We communicate and socialize more and more through computers and screens.

A question that arises is whether it’s even going to be feasible to be “human” in the long run. Or if we—consciously or unconsciously—will develop into something else, into a new kind of being better suited to life in a high-tech world of our own creation.

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Magnus Niska was the first person to have a prosthesis that is permanently implanted to his body connected with the nerves and muscles. He can control it with only his brain.

Contextual:

The Painted Witch

Last year I read a book by art historian Edwin Mullins called “The Painted Witch: Female Body: Male Art : how Western Artists Have Viewed the Sexuality of Women”.

It made a strong impact on me as it confirmed and made very clear that art has as a patriarchal heritage as anything else in society. It also weaved in folk history and myths that always fascinated me. Especially the stories of “bad women” intrigued me. The monstrous, sexual, sinful “daughters of Eve”. It is so obvious how men have through history, not least through religion, suppressed different female powers by shaming them as sinful and dirty or mystifying them as dangerous and heathenish.

From this chapter I drew on essentially two myths/anecdotes, one about women allied with beasts and one about Rita Hayworth. There are several examples of female myth figures that are somewhat mystically connected with nature and a particular baneful part of it – often a beastly animal. One of those is Medusa, the greek mythological monster figure with snakes in place of hair and known as the “most horrific woman in the world”. Medusa is a powerful symbol that has been used in many cultural contexts, not least by feminists (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medusa#Feminism). Rita Hayworth on the other hand is a very real person, famous as an actress and very much a sex symbol of the 30s. It is said that the american atomic bomb that dropped on Hiroshima in WW2 was named after and decorated with an image of the famous actress. Sex bomb. Sexual power is deadly this communicates.

 

The Dream Faculty

I also read a fictional book about Valerie Solanas, “The Dream Faculty” by Swedish author Sara Stridsberg. This book also made a strong impact on me on a very personal level. I often recall some quotes from the book:

“…we are going to be the first intellectual whores of America”, “It is a political statement to always wear lipstick outside of the mouth”, “you have to go through a lot of sex to become antisex”.


The Cat

Then there is The Cat – a character I came up with some time ago and wanted to bring to life for my Unit 3 project.

The Cat is part animal, part human. It has no real gender, age, social or ethnic background. It is a posthuman character that doesn’t lets itself be categorised by dualities as human/animal, male/female, black/white, old/young, bad/good.

To me this character is a powerful figure that stands outside of society’s norms and structures. As it doesn’t have to identify with anything it can be both bad and good. All those things that you blame yourself for as a girl, The Cat will not excuse itself for. It will like Valerie Solanas embrace being a whore, it will as a child, claim its space in the public, it is not afraid to spread its legs wide.

 


 

From all this and my own diary notes, I wrote a poem that I used as a soundtrack to the video Not a girl.

This is a story about a girl. 
And not this one particular girl. 
But any girl told to become a woman.
It’s a simple story. Being a woman is to put on a show. It’s a costume and an act. 
It’s been like this for a long time.
    
However. She is not a girl. In fact she is many things. 
Like her inner child…. a lion… and a witch… your inner child, a lion and a witch. Her inner child, a lion and a witch.
Reveal this. 
And you get punished. 
But don’t worry. 
Hell is a place where you don’t need to act. 
Hell is a place where you don’t need to act.
We are all daughters of Eve.
And your body has its own rhythm. Your body has its own rhythm. Its own rhythm.
Valerie, Rita, Medusa, Medusa. Join in the dance. Let it go. 

 

 

I plan to make this a trilogy.

  1. Not a girl
  2. All move AFRICA Nike rockstar workout (REMAKE)

  3. Let it go

Second part:

 

Methodology:

For the making of this video I drew much inspiration by Keren Cytter. I had watched a lot of Jon Rafman and Ryan Trecartin before but it was when I was introduced to Cytter’s work was that I decided to go in a slightly different direction and focus more on sound, costume, framing and content than technological effects and illusions.

I had the chance to attend a talk that Keren held at the RCA where I asked her how she worked with sound. She said she scripted it all before making of every video, both visuals and audio so I had that in mind when I was recording this and sort of made the sound and the visuals parallell to each other.

For a group show in Stockholm I created this series of images. They are face paintings, enacted, photographed and later digitally manipulated and further “painted” in Photoshop by me.

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Boat Face, Tinder Face, Jesus Camp on Netflix Face, Picasso Face, Valerie Face, Mickey Face and Ida Face.

For this project I was asked to show face paints and I decided to weave in my interest, curiosity and opinion on a posthumanist approach to identity and appropriation of different identities. I also realised that I’ve used my face to loosen up painting as a medium and trick myself into being both freer and more challenged than in front of a white canvas. I realise I always strive for playfulness and a free creative flow reminding of a child’s, in my practice. I think the act of painting my face is both a shortcut to a freer painting practice but there is also a performative aspect to it. When I put on a mask I take on different properties or qualities, it helps me feel less bound to my body which is just what the posthumanist ideas that intrigue me the most signifies.

 

These are my notes for my statement in the printed brochure.

body as canvas

There’s a playful element to body painting that eases up the medium. It reminds more of make-up than painting, a field of art that hasn’t got any heavy historical status

Dress up, taking on different personas – posthumanity, when technology challenges the idea of human nature and its dual approaches to gender, sexuality and humanity versus other species. Even technology itself can’t be simply separated from humanity.
Even the separation between man and machine is questioned today as Artificial Intelligence, biotechnology etc. is developing.

Soul Chain Letter12710914_10153849806876271_8825846035362249503_o

Soul Chain is

an exploration of yourself and a channel for expression,

a celebration of the creative individual and the infinite possibilities of a collective,

a physical presence capsuled in a digital reality.

In this ongoing experiment participants are using their bodies as instruments, allowing their movements to travel across screens, adding on to a chain of of joined individuals, moving together in an unforeseen pattern.

Contributing to this project means recording a video of yourself that relates to the previous video posted on the project blog. How you choose to translate the movement is up to you. The material will then be treated and presented as an art project.

  1. Emergence

emergence is a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties.”

To me one of the reasons it is interesting to create an art work that is interactive and built up by individual creative forces, is that it creates an “unforeseen pattern”. As in emergence in nature:

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(A termite “cathedral” mound produced by a termite colony offers a classic example of emergence in nature./Wiki)

The videos that make up Soul Chain are very different. Some are more interesting individually than others, some contributors are experienced dancers, some are amateurs, some choses to move in very non-mannered ways and others take the opportunity to act out rather dramatic images.

The fact that a collective can achieve far greater things than a single individual also relates to the superorganism theories of Bruce Lipton.

As stated in previous post I wanted to work with this theme of the collective and still keep the individual creative mind in focus.

2. Dance

“Anna Halprin: Experience as dance”, biographical book about dancer Anna Halprin written by Jannet Ross.

I’ve actively chosen to not use the word dance to much when introducing Soul Chain. The main reason for that is because dance has many meanings and to most people it probably signifies something doctrinal or social rather than spiritual and self-explorational. To further understand dance  and it’s properties and dimensions I’ve been reading about a pioneer in the field of contemporary dance and performance, Anna Halprin (1920-).

These are some quotes I gathered from the book:

“The first stage of being a dancer is self exploration, then comes expression.”

“Thinking is inquiry and any act of inquiry begins with a problem and proceeds, through testing of possible solutions, to a resolution” John Dewey

To me that last quote from American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey, is relevant because I think problem solving is a very big part of creativity and the kind of playfulness that I strive for in all my work. A reason why the soul chain performance is quite long (around 6 minutes) is because I experience myself that it’s only a few minutes in a performance like this that the creative part of the mind is sparked. And dancing is such a clear image of a creative process:

  • solving a problem/testing of different solutions
  • taking inspiration from outer sources (music, other people etc)
  • listening to your inner guidance
  • expressively communicating a feeling to your surrounding

3. Posthumanism

“The Posthuman is not a defined individual but become or embody different identities.”

I’ve taken interest in Posthumanism because it seems very essential in this technological age.

I especially consider the views on identity important for my practice. I like the idea that there is nothing such as “human nature”, that a human is a flexible, floating being by definition, inhabiting a physical body but not bound to it – neither technically nor culturally.

4. Animal senses

“Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology”, David Abram, 2007.

Whereas the posthumanist ideas that I’ve absorbed might focus on the humans separation from (as David Abram would put it) “human and earthly flesh”, I’ve also dug into some theory that rather emphasises the impact the “earthly” dimension has on our bodies and therefore our thoughts —> feelings —> lifes. I don’t see this as a conflicting thought at all.

I find a very interesting and relevant aspect of movement and dance is the fact that it is a very “earthly”, “primal”, “animal” act.

I recently started babysitting a 1 year-old. This baby is new to this world, he doesn’t have any preconsumptions about social life, he’s more animal than us mature, reading and refelctive people. Which makes it only more interesting that he responds unexceptionally to rhythms, breaking up in a big smile, starting to move his body.