Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Residency 4, Day 29: 'Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-half is good.' - Nam June Paik

More information about the show
Photo Credit: Sam Sung
I was thinking about a not-uncommon approach to discussing another person's art work, whether in pedagogical settings or not. Though it would be hard to avoid the practice completely, there are issues with it. Say, you have been asked to give feedback or critique someone else's creations or findings. Related phenomena include too-quickly linking to contextual examples you happen to know, or citing thinkers of unlikely relevance, but the main irritating habit is to make, not one, but numerous suggestions to the other person, as to what they might do, or could do, or should do. At a certain level there is value in a modicum of this, and if ideas are provided less formally, and with people not caught up in the art-game, that can be wonderful, but, too much of it is not fruitful, not helpful, and arguably even (passively) aggressive. 'Showing off' one's apparent creative abilities in order to help out, surely arises from a kind of insecurity. It is bad in educational settings, with pupils or students, and it is bad with peers. Even when, and maybe especially when, ideas and concrete tips are sought - students sometimes want to be told what to do for example - vigilance is advisable. Work can be discussed without making numerous mini-proposals or egging someone on in a direction of your own interest. Resisting this urge, results in a finer creative and intellectual challenge and is more useful to the other party. Or new lines of inquiry might arise organically out of the dialogue, as opposed to being prescribed by one party. The over-giving of ideas, ironically, often merely closes off possibilities for the receiver because, if they were to carry out those actions, then the work would not be theirs. Of course, as I think about this, it seems obvious that a highly interesting strategy could be to operate in yes-clown mode and appropriate all concepts, ideas, and practical suggestions made by these keener than keen, sometimes patronising, creative-boss-people. 'You could do this', or 'You could do that', or 'Have you thought of this?' 'Thank you, thank you, thank you...'

I'm gone! Four residencies completed. The System Interference Exhibition will open on Saturday 17th September. Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of Cambridge Digital Humanities, the brilliant Caroline Bassett, and I will converse live at 2pm, right herehttps://goo.gl/maps/rXvcSgYoWTMjYovt5.



Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Residency 4, Day 28: 'There is no standard culture or artistic language, there are only dialects.' - J. Ardle McArdle

Curation or no curation, whatever that means. Went over to see the Fragments in Constellation people and found set-up in full flow. Looks like something special emerging there.

And I, former FCA man, 'Private O'Connell M, 1015445', have boxed up a post-conceptual art exhibition today: 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Residency 4, Day 27: 1. 'I don’t stop when I’m tired, I only stop when I’m done.' - Marilyn Monroe

 Time to pack up.

Stupid Plugs instructions:

For some reason each morning, for the cycle to work, on both sequences of electronic timers/adaptors, it is necessary to press the MANUAL button (up to) 4 times on each of the four electronic timers, so that ON appears and then it is switched back to AUTO, starting with the one nearest the socket, in sequence. Does that make sense? I need to return to re-write these instructions or make a video tutorial/explanation.

Solved the problem (later) I think. I need to re-programme the Stupid Plugs as follows:

 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Residency 4, Day 26: 'We need more... elitism before we fall further victim to the cult of self-congratulation and the feel good factor.' - Emer O'Kelly

Though I am not one-hundred percent sure how I feel about the quote above, nor the article it came from, written by Emer O'Kelly a decade and a half ago, it does deal with an important subject. Of course it is right to defend elitism, other than material/power elitism that is, i.e. some people being stupendously wealthy and powerful, whilst a fraction starve, many live in poverty, and most conduct their lives in precarious insecurity. But if a road bowler, say, has committed to their sport, and is measurably better at it than others, and knows their stuff, that's something to admire, and look up to even, right? The interests and achievements of a few are a) not an insult to those who don't play the game, nor b) necessarily aimed at humiliating those who are less good at it. And, who would not want to deny the pleasure, once-removed, of seeing another human being, impress by throwing a 28 ounce cannonball down a winding road, precisely, and at great speed, in the way those experts do?

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Residency 4, Day 25: 'My work, at its core, is about managing the vulnerability, awkwardness and discomfort of being alive. ' - Kara Hearn

Well, that was a busy day. As luck would have it in the final few days before this residency ends, the latest show at Uillinn was taken down, and a new one is not going up until Monday, so I was able to try out the galleries and spaces, and bring in battery-powered wind turbines, inflatable large ones, the 12ft (3.66m) high print I have just had made (in three sections) and more.

It occurred to me that the large print which is a photo of a packaged wind turbine toy (see https://www.instagram.com/p/CgEaOMtMH4a/), the packaged wind turbine toy itself (https://www.mocksim.org/works/making-wind.htm), and a stamp sized version produced for that ABC project (https://www.mocksim.org/works/dutch-stamp.htm) would work well together as a triptych.

The idea got me thinking of the famous scene from Father Ted when Ted is trying to explain the basics of perspective to Dougal: https://youtu.be/MMiKyfd6hA0. Ted uses the example of real cows which are far away by comparison with a small toy cow which is close. Interestingly there are cows in the toy image too and the large one was produced so that the head of the apparently closer beast would be correctly cow-sized. The wisdom of the series Father Ted was partly due to its perfect appropriateness for the moment in history it was produced in, but also in other ways. So, for example, with photography, video, TV and cinema, human propensities are exploited via the tricks of perspective. It is easy to believe that certain figures represented may be far away, and others close, but screens and prints are two dimensional, flat items. Representations on the picture plane are all the same distance from the eye. So in that sense the majority are stupid and Dougal's puzzlement opens avenues to important overlooked truths. Off you go now to read Panofsky's Perspective as Symbolic Formshorturl.at/eoR24.

The great Kara Hearn appeared today at Uillinn with her family, the intrepid Bill and thoughtful Walter, all the way from New York. It was very pleasing to get together face-to-face, having had to collaborate remotely back in January and February: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ7nwHcsOIL/.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Residency 4, Day 24: 'Elitist art for everyone!' - Antoine Vitez

Holy shit: everything is coming together here, in and around Studio 3: https://www.instagram.com/p/CgB-FZyM08M/

I was thinking earlier about Institutional Critique, and not only about how necessary the set of approaches was. Maybe a degree of it is always important, years ago I co-ran an event called 'Bite the Hand that Feeds you', but is an apparent fingers-up to all institutions to be trusted really? And hasn't much of what was worth doing already been done. It is interesting too to defend and embrace institutions? On a nuts-and-bolts level, what is wrong with a plinth? Answer me that? Speaking of which, four will be produced for the September opening. In the end it feels better than resorting to upturned recycling bins. I want to bend the stick back towards tradition a fraction, and incorporate some of the paraphernalia associated with gallery exhibiting.

Also I want to credit the numerous firms who have helped. (Football and sports programmes often did, and still do, this. Am thinking of those heady days, trying to help organise the Blarney Three Day - which included creating drawings for the daily general classification, a rudimentary photocopied publication - whilst simultaneously racing in it.) Here's the list so far, maybe missing some:
  • Your Surprise .ie (hi-vis jackets)
  • Thornhill Electrical (site of numerous experiments and workshops)
  • Thornhill Brothers Hardware (forklift truck discussions and more)
  • TechSilver (motion activated audio devices)
  • O'Reilly Couriers Goleen (print transport)
  • Leslie Roycroft and Sons Garage (used car)
  • Kavanaghs Toys, Wexford (battery powered jobs)
  • Imagine Inflatables (inflatables)
  • Earthmill Maintenance (for ?)
  • Drinagh Pharmacy (my photography printers)
  • Digital Printing Ireland (post-cards)
  • Countryside Sports (road bowling balls)
  • Carbery Road Bowling (they'll run a workshop)
  • Blackwater Motors (car rental)
  • Barry Brothers Builders Merchants (the pipes, the pipes...)
  • Bally Bia Restaurant (formerly a petrol station)
and others...