Towards a Non-Identity Art
This exposition addresses the motivation behind the recent turn in contemporary art toward displaying non-art and the work of outsiders. It begins by providing an alternative interpretation of Marcel Duchamp's Fountain before tracing the historic roots of the vanguardist strategy of self-negation in art and its affinities with communal creativity.
Developed from my research on artist exits, I then affirm an expanded creativity. I posit that an egalitarian art could be realised within exhibitions in which anyone can exhibit. Such a polemical outlook seeks to problematise the ownership of the identities within the field of artistic production. Ultimately it seeks to further the egalitarian drive in contemporary culture and encourage a reconsideration of set identities.
However, these assumptions will in turn be problematised as the research is driven by Theodor Adorno’s non-identity thought. This involves a rejection of strong self–identification alongside a commitment to egalitarianism. Considering this, the worthwhile search for a non-identity art is forever elusive.
The institutions of classical music could be regarded as sites of performance and production, and the apparatus and situation of performance as material for the composer. My work 'Johannes Brahms Klarinettentrio' revolves around the idea of composing with the situation of the chamber music performance. The composition is an intervention by way of the paranoid-critical method adapted from Dali by architect Rem Koolhaas: A chamber music ensemble is sitting on stage, performing what seems to be Johannes Brahms's Clarinet Trio (1891). But gradually both the music and the interplay between musicians change, thereby altering the expectations of the audience during the course of listening. As the piece unfolds, the acoustic instruments are overtaken by electronic equipment and sounds. The work is an attempt to challenge the tranquilising flow of chamber music, to open the situation to the possibility of the unexpected.
Mapping a Modern Diegesis: Terre des Hommes and Robert Altman's Quintet
This project maps the locations in the old Expo 67 site in Montréal used in the film Quintet (Robert Altman, 1979). It reflects upon how the representation of the international, modern architecture and design of the Expo pavilions could shift from signifying promise and potential for social betterment to becoming indexes of technological catastrophe and social decay. It also looks at how the architecture of Expo 67, both as a site of technological spectacle and as an impromptu film set, has disappeared.
The interface for the project reflects the process of looking for something that has been forgotten. Like the characters of the film Quintet, lost in a nuclear winter landscape, the reader wanders through expanses of white space to find remnants of the expo site and of the film's set, to find artefacts and fragments of meaning.
Don Asker, Helen Herbertson
In this project we examine the process of creating performance. 'Latitudinal Conversations' documents conversation and thoughtful reflection between two choreographers over two years. It includes periods when conversation extends into body-centred field and studio work, where thoughtful voices and bodies ‘talking’ are intertwined. It is multi-modal in form exploring the intersection of kinaesthetic, sonic (including vocalisations), and visual image data.
The project takes an emergent methods approach, trusting the particular nature of the participants’ interests and curiosity to provide impetus and direction. It is an endeavour that eschews final determination and conclusions in favour of an unfolding dialogue that allows two individual perspectives to intersect and find points of differentiation and resonance.
What ‘emerges’ are insights into the drivers and motivations of these particular practices, making transparent many of the tacit or underlying methods, values, and assumptions of the choreographers. The research underlines the cyclical and continuous processing of experience, thoughtful reflection and awareness, and potential for action in the future. In this process notions of embodiment and the capacity of the situated body to kindle metaphors are reappraised.
The Photogram as a Domestic Diary
Using a heuristic a method of inquiry, my practice-led research investigates a creative visualisation of memory, autobiography, and domestic space. I approach these experiences from the perspective that home is not necessarily a fixed or ideal place, but rather an on-going condition underpinned by the tension between preservation and transformation. Within these parameters, home is defined primarily as a self-referential process whereby memory and autobiography are integral. I examine photograms and paper sculptures as methods of engaging with, recording, and cataloguing memory. How space is perceived and thus translated onto paper informs my understanding of the visceral and direct qualities of memory as an artefact, as well as a mode of storytelling. Through this, my research aims to contribute, through unconventional image-making processes, to how memory can be triggered and home re-constructed as a domestic diary. I argue that memory is provoked by an intimately-scaled, reconstructed portrayal of home as both an iconic and abstracted space whereby touch, light, and paper are necessary aids. Home is an important area of exploration because of its immediate link to memory. My research offers insight into how domestic space can be perceived as a diary.
Located Identity: Finding the Mallee
From within a larger body of research that dealt with how identity is constructed in and through screen spaces, in this exposition I have selected for discussion three works that deal more specifically with the relationship between identity and place. I discuss these three projects so as to chart the shifting ways in which I developed a relationship to a single place, namely the Mallee geo-region of south-eastern Australia. It is a hot, dry region, largely flat and low lying, which for significant periods was inundated by the ocean. This ancient geological history is seen today in the sand dunes and salt lakes that the region contains. It is a place of contested land use, and inappropriate agricultural practices have made it highly susceptible to erosion. In this exposition, I will describe how I was drawn to work in this zone, and how, through the three successive works I discuss, significant shifts occurred in the way I engaged with landscape through the medium of video. In my previous practice I was very often present as a performer on screen. The seven-year arc described in this exposition has seen my own presence slowly fade. My disappearance from the picture, and my shifting relationship to place, are two aspects of the same process, one an expression of the other. The three works discussed contain different approaches to space, place, and landscape, and together they build towards a notion of located identity that sees the landscape subsume the previously present ‘actor’.