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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Erich Fromm

quoting Marx: “The less you are and the less you express your life the more you have and the greater is your alienated life. Everything the economist takes from you in the way of life and humanity he restores to you in money and wealth”

People that are completely into “having” we would call insane. People that are in full “being” mode we would call a saint.

Art of Loving

Fromm means love is the solution to human existence. We dread separateness and there are different ways we can acheive unity: orgiastic fusion (orgasm, trance),productive work, conformity but only one is truly inter-personal: love.

In creative work, Fromm means that the artist or artisan unites with the world around him through a material. This is valid for all productive work. However most modern work is not productive in this sense (like Marx’s theory of alienation) as worker does not actually see or touch what he/she produced.

 

My thought on engaging the body in everyday life as a way to enhance mental health and contentness relates much to Marx’s theory of alienation.

That work in an industrial age does not fullfil a person like labour potentially can because it alienates them from the product, their Gattungswesen and more.

Today in a digital world I think we are not only alienated from these things but also from our bodies as a part of our selves. A person in front of a computer does hardly need a body and the body becomes something depressive, excessive and neglected.

As part of my practice is about movement I have decided to try out as many movement classes and workshops as possible. Last Wednesday I attended a workshop in school by Michele Rizzo where we practiced club dancing, first alone, then with fixed eyecontact and in the end in front of everybody.

On Saturday I went to a contact improvisation jam where we practiced listening to each others bodies and following without leading while also being creative and playful.

Today I tried Gaga People for the first time and it was the perfect fit for me. It tunes into the exact things I like with dance and improv.

I see dance as an effective way to let go of the mind and stay connected to the body and the earth. Just like hand work/craft and physical labour. I believe this is important to bring into our lives here in the western, automatised world, to prevent mental and physical illness and deepen understanding of nature and how everything is connected. Basically to nurture our inner wisdom.


Gaga, the movement language developed by Ohad Naharin 

Gaga is a new way of gaining knowledge and self-awareness through your body. Gaga provides a framework for discovering and strengthening your body and adding flexibility, stamina, and agility while lightening the senses and imagination. Gaga raises awareness of physical weaknesses, awakens numb areas, exposes physical fixations, and offers ways for their elimination. The work improves instinctive movement and connects conscious and unconscious movement, and it allows for an experience of freedom and pleasure in a simple way, in a pleasant space, in comfortable clothes, accompanied by music, each person with himself and others.“We become more aware of our form. We connect to the sense of the endlessness of possibilities. We explore multi-dimensional movement; we enjoy the burning sensation in our muscles, we are ready to snap, we are aware of our explosive power and sometimes we use it. We change our movement habits by finding new ones. We go beyond our familiar limits. We can be calm and alert at once.” – Ohad Naharin

The highlight of my second week at the academy was a lesson we had on Friday. Master student Quinsy Gario was there and students got feedback on their ongoing projects, by him, the teacher and each other. It was good. I showed some video/painting material I have been experimenting with. I want to paint the compositions I can make with my body in front of my webcam live onto a video in real time as I can do in my phone apps. Until I find a way (I will get an appointment with a teacher about after effects after the break) I use Premier and figured out some good ways to fade in and out paint that I do in Photoshop.

I expressed my willingness to bring in the body into my practice and also in people’s lives and I got the suggestion to work with live performance and engaging people, like giving instructions. Which is funny because this is what I’ve been onto for a while and should be doing more focused.

I’m inspired by Erwin Wurm’s instruction pieces and relationship with photography. I’m also thinking about Miranda July’s work Learning to Love You More.

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Sometimes it takes time to understand one’s own art. When Belit Sag, in the class on Wednesday, talked about her film And the image gazes back (2014) she said that it was only recently, three years later, that she had started to articulate things about the movie.

While organising my files on my computer today I stumbled upon an old project from Novemeber 2014 that I never managed to finish, it was too unclear what it was about. Now I want to see if I can articulate better, with more than two more years of experience and art education.

The project was initiated when I was starting to apply for art schools. I tried to make art but was completely unsure of what I wanted to do and communicate. I was very frustrated, it was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a fixed full time schedule. I felt excessive, as I didn’t fill a function in society. So I decided to do something about it.

On the 3rd of November 2014 I bought a red rake. I was going to to rake leaves.

I lived in a house complex with a shared inner yard with a lawn and some trees. There was a lot of leaves that I could rake. I installed a camera on my balcony and went down to rake. I didn’t write anything at the time about my experience but I want to remember feeling a little pleased with activating my body and feeling closer to my neighbours even though they didn’t know about my intentions.

These are things that I always come back to: 1) Finding ways to engage the body in a modern life characterised by sitting still in chairs (over)stimulating the brain 2) Sense of community 3) Repetition and everyday/mundane things/practices.

I think this work is about rejecting the ego – in making art but also in living in a capitalist society in general. My practice is not about me, it is about what I can give to others. I have a talent for visual image-making and people appreciate images but it is not a necessity and I think it is important to stay humble as an artist.

The work is currently a 30 min video (would be appropriate as a loop) shot at three consecutive days. The first two days I rake and on the third day it snowed and I stayed inside. You see that new leaves fall over night, making it kind of a Sisyphus job.

Maybe it would be more interesting if I’d kept up with it for more days. To me it feels like a little failure that I didn’t.

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Today was my fourth day at GRA and so far the experience is very positive. Here is the main events of my week.

Film lesson

On Wednesday I attended a class series on video art with the first year students at the department I’m enrolled at (VAV – moving image). They had invited artist and videomaker Belit Sag, a graduate from the academy, to show and talk about her films. Belit manages to be an activist as well as artist and her works are always politicalbut very personal. She showed three works: Sept. Oct. 2015, Cizre, a very intimate documenting compilation of fragments of an everyday life of a kurdish family just after Turkish security forces had attacked their home and placed a curfew on their town. It struck me how Belit manages to film so close to the subjects, they even hold the camera many times. I asked her how her relationship to the camera was and she said she always lets everybody use it and see what has been recorded but that she as the filmmaker and owner of the camera has a special relationship to it. I thought it sounded very much like a good parent-child relationship and that’s exactly how the movie feels, as if the camera is a baby that is passed around in the family and that we see through its eyes.

 

Gallery visit

Today we visited an exhibition called As If: The Media Artist as a Trickster at the space Framer Framed. It showed artists that have worked with media and the possibility to manipulate it. The show looks at the current political “post-truth”-society and also back at the 90’s movement ‘Tactical Media’ that started combining PR techniques and new experimental media with art by so called “hit and run-interventions”.

Many of the works displayed are websites that are available from wherever. Like Ian Alan Paul’s work “Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art & History” from 2012.

 

Green screen recording and 3D scanning

On Tuesday I assisted another student recording a movie in a green screen studio. She used a 3D scan app+lens on an iPad to scan human busts that she will later use in her video work. This method was new to me and gave me ideas for a video I want to make where I want to portray the “invisible”.