A MONTHLY FEUILLETON (PART 5: FEBUARY)
By Agnieszka Ryszkiewicz
It's me again, your Carrie Bradshaw straight from Angers, who slowly becomes frustrated not with a lack of men but with a lack of creativity. You surely remember how the Essayists, including myself, were struggling to give birth to a fantastic intervention that will take place at Pompidou in March.
My inventiveness slowly turns into a mechanical copy and paste action. Just look at what I have recently discovered:
Robert Pruitt suggests some performances (no copyrights!):
“Do an interpretative dance to environmental sound. Car alarm, baby crying, clock ticking”
“frame a painting with a feather boa”
“using chalk name all the bricks that make up a wall”
“title your life”
Dedicating more and more time to research results in hours spent in front of the computer.
How did it happen that we have moved progressively from the dance studios into the shadows of our white or silver Macs to build the basis for dance performances?
Personally I find it fascinating and really up to date. After a morning yoga class, I take a shower and all smelly and fit I run to the nearest Starbucks (actually we have none in Angers, so I pop into the famous “bar du centre" where a beer costs 2 Euros). I order a double cream, open my computer and DO RESEARCH!
I simply love it. People come across me, and I explain to all of those young Frenchies having their lunch baguettes “pil poil" at noon that actually I am a dancer but nowadays a dancer must know much more than how to lift her leg. (Knowing copy and paste is another useful skill, hehe.) Anyway, they still often conclude I do ballet, but there usually is time to correct that during some private evenings sessions. :-)
Nevertheless, besides some persistent back pain, this way of research results in enormous frustration as well.
Chatting on MSN with Cecilia and Charles who were sitting across the street in the “Bar Lounge”, we were exchanging our recent discoveries and that was when Robert Pruitt and company just killed my belief in being innovative.
And now, when calmly sipping my second coffee and considering a first beer, I discovered some giant funds of artistic projects given out as ideas! For free!
Just surf to http://www.e-flux.com/projects/pruitt/index.php3?num=0 and get depressed by 101 propositions one could have thought were unique. Erwin Wurm has just read those before I did!
And then Charles sent me the link to the DO IT manual, a booklet he actually owns back in Switzerland or somewhere.
He promised to bring it over tomorrow as my eyes where getting dry from staring at the screen and I'd rather take a look at a regular book, not an Internet site.
My research for today was crowned by a virtual tour within the museum itself and a brief overview of the 1,200 exhibits currently on the 4th and 5th floor. The vernissage of VOID RETROSPECTIVE was another pretext to check on the 9 represented artists. Thanks to Wiki, I didn't have to spend hours on finding out who they were, besides Laurie Parsons. The prank, escaping the label of an Artist, not only doesn't sell anything but successfully avoids any mention of her or her works that basically do not exist anyway.
Tomorrow, another day and as we decided to share our research fruits I'd better ask B. for help to discover more over this whole Parsons, if I want to be able to say sth more about her than just void …
Parsons is a piece of a woman. B. discovered a fascinating text about her (hell knows how, I spent half an hour checking all google results and nothing interesting popped up – this whole computerized inquiring is more demanding than one might imagine!). Anyway Ms Parsons, who has never considered herself an artist started with collecting accidental objects, then whole sections of nature and environment. Erasing her name from exhibitions, she doesn't agree to have her “works" sold. Finally she withdraws herself and her activity to such a point that for example being asked to create sculptures for a park, what she does is invite the guards to spread rumors around constant presence for a month in the space. The work is not only ephemeral but actually didn't even happen. What there is are fake traces!
This way of seeing art and artistic actions left us doubtful and pensive in the cold studio. Fortunately Charles has brought the DO IT book. B. only sighed, acting as if she knew it already and had no interest in learning anything from Duchamp's way of thinking, but the rest of us (me and another friend M. who does not smoke during daytime) bend over.
Marcel Duchamp is the originator of operational instructions for artworks. In notes titled Speculations; instructions like the following are to be found there: “Make a picture or a sculpture, as one who would unravel a roll of cinema film; buy a dictionary and strike out the words that can be stricken.” Duchamp commented: “These notes all had something in common: they were always written as infinitive. 'A l'infinitif' means doing things, finally doing that which I never did.”
We also do not do much anymore! I exclaimed!
We shall maybe just make visible what we could have done!
Sure that's always an option, B. patronized me with an accurate nod:
“It is where we artists have a choice maybe
Lawrence Weiner hit the point of the artists' multiple choices as follows:
1. The artist may construct the piece.
2. The piece may be fabricated.
3. The piece need not be built.” She said.
Sometimes I really hate her!
I borrowed the book and took it home and couldn't help thinking “If contemporary dance and performance research moves from the studios into the Internet networks, will we ever be able to still create something in real space?" This line is definitely worth Carrie Bradshaw.
And as time goes by, February being the shortest month, I shall leave you here, struggling with Internet databases of instructions for artists and non-artists and all that amount of information that may turn from fertilizer into a paralyzer.
As far as I'm concenrned, I have another French law-school adept ready to fertilize me in exchange for patiently listening to a treatise on the differences between contemporary dance and classical ballet. I wonder if I shall leave Wikipedia open, just in case …