Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tiny Gaps in Culture


  1. Does what he say speak to you? I mean the ideas that;
    a) Artists research those little gaps in the culture.
    b) Being someone who doesn't have any 'work' but doesn't want to leave culture to others.
    c)Doing what you do anyway and that becomes your work (linked to success through failure.)

    I really like him so much.

  2. I need more info:

    a. Can you you explicate this concept of "gaps in the culture"?

    b. Contrast with someone who has "work", what is "to have work"?

    c. "don't do the logical thing, that being...showing the dominant culture what it has done" - does his work not show the dominant culture what it has done? what does his work perhaps do instead?

  3. a) I think its what Zizek talks about and what we've always discussed, in that its the task of theoreticians and I think artists to deal with whats left over in culture, the 'indivisible remainder' is what ZIzek calls it I think. So there are all these disciplines dedicated to studying and specializing in everything in culture, but sometimes, perhaps where disciplines meet there are things which neither party of specialists is equipped to deal with and that's where artists come in. It also relates in someway, I think to Zuckermans idea of bridge figures who are nodes between many different worlds and they're the only ones with the perspective to join the dots and take leaps.
    b) I associated people with 'work' with people with 'skills' and 'vision', ok so I learnt nothing practical at artschool, or just enough to let me use the tools I need. Perhaps its also a matter of specialization-so many artists have these craftsman like or really good technical skills and they follow their vision to create their own worlds. I feel like I don't have that and therefore my work is like scraping by, being contingent upon circumstances and borrowing others skills or DIYing it because the aspect of skill and craft and process in a material sense is not so important and not really the subject of the work.
    c) I suppose it relates to a), in that his work shows what the culture 'didnt' do. Perhaps its something to do with his thinking about the 'near future', not far enough in the future to be Utopian but not close enough to the present to be practically useful and socially engaged, somewhere in between, soft but malleable.

    Please respond to my comments, I'd like to know your opinion.

    I realized it was a month since my last post and my brain was melting-lets get back on it.

  4. a. i think this sounds about right , I'm just trying to work out how that description of "cultural gap" and "being opened up" applies to a lot of contemporary work. I guess the paradigm lends itself most to those lines of research that make connections around seemingly innocuous/marginal/ singularities/leftovers.

    In practice I relate it to when a lot of artists have a fascination with a particular situation/object that forms the subject of their work. In fact Adam Curtis would be the paradigmatic example in that he'll become fascinated with some partial element, lets say, monkeys in space or a particular 3 day conference that occurred in 1966, and then he will "unpack it". And so this approach in art practise really would follow a similar approach to Curtis but will respond in a less direct way.

    For example I am fascinated with the fact, that i just found out, that China has a "minister for extreme sports"...

    c. to use this example, the most "natural responses" might be to say
    - follow this logic to its extreme end, or
    - represent it in such a way that it becomes emblematic, symptomatic or precisely condensed...

    so for the sake of being analytic, how does one
    (or gillick for example) tease connections out of this strange cultural artefact in a more counterintuitive way?

    I guess really atm I am concerned with trying to build up a toolbox of counter-intuitive moves in thought and practice ...

    b. so when you say skills, vision you really mean people who are working within a narrative or greatly subjectivised structure, ones of self recognition, subscription and wider identification?

    I sort of challenge this distinction, and I think everyone has doubts about everything they do. I especially think that , like how every artist says 'just one more', they also say 'my work is unskilled / useless'. I think these are just part and parcel with doing work that is contemporary, that necessarily being contingent, open-ended and untotalised ie, these are the very conditions to be doing anything that is current, vital and offering the possibility of meaning.

    If you didnt have this feeling of "unskilled" you would know for sure you were on the wrong track. And i think this has proved true through every innovation in art, there is constantly the accusation that every progression is yet another level of deskilling...

    And by comparison, even in professional jobs you first find out that everything you learnt at uni was useless theory and know you are really learning what matters. And, in fact what you learn in practice is extremely particular (ie just what you need to keep the cog turning) and really it is just applied industry.

    The feeling of distance from your work is very much imho asssociated with our general system of abstracted labour

  5. In terms of c), I guess the point is to not follow the 'cultural artifact' to its logical conclusion because this is foregone anyway. It's perhaps to focus on an incidental detail within this 'scene' and see how it silently played its part in those proceedings, by perhaps removing it and seeing how things would happen in that case. Maybe its focusing on the 'ambient sound' around an event, which in many cases might be the aesthetic of it, and seeing what part this plays-like you know Thomas Demand's work where he recreates in paper the rooms in which historical events occurred, always emptied of its actors to leave only the residue of that event-perhaps its a good definition of the aesthetic as well, artists mine whats left over in the culture, the 'tiny gaps' and aesthetic value is what is left over which cannot be accounted for by utilitarian or economic value, the remainder. Is this a valid equation? I mean Gillick focuses on the surfaces of bureaucratic and corporate architecture in his work, it picks up the aesthetic of corporate lobbies which becomes the subject of his work and this is somehow his glancing blow at Neo-liberalism-much in the same way perhaps that an unfulfilled mandate for my work would be, after Taussig. to focus on the developing world and small scale communities and localities as a way to deal with the center by studying its affects on the periphery.