Public Enemy

The history has offered us instruments to identify the roots of different circumstances that we have not experienced, artists who have used the archives and not narrative documents have found a form of reconfiguring more than objects even more than philosophical theories. They recreate in our minds episodes that we don’t find in main stream publications.


Recently I was in an exhibition which I consider pertinent to this topic, in Holybush Gardens Gallery in Bethnal Green Titled Notes and projects curated by Gil Leung. In this project the curator has invited artist to recreate situations that can be conducted by an object which is not present in the space is not materialize in any shape of matter, the pieces that have been displayed in the gallery are notes, sentences highlighted in books, some photos, but the most important part are the series of performances which are readings, during these sessions the artists  connect their own experiences with the spectator´s imagination; the relates don’t have linear narrative even when they are telling us a minus experience. Rather than recreate a specific feeling or mood the aim of these performances is recreate in the spectator mind an object which is outside of the exhibition, I experimented that sensation the performer allow me to think in something else which wasn’t there; the pieces installed in the gallery were the lesser important at all or reading the press release, the possibility of use my own history as a reference to reconstruct my personal object of thinking was the most important piece that I appreciate that evening.

In the text of Desai, D. and Hamlin, J the authors make reference to the oral history as a model of investigation for artistic purposes and how they open debates of true and subjectivity. The objects that often are hang in this kind of exhibitions work as a detonators they are not paintings or they don’t have the aura of the original artwork as pointed out Walter Benjamin, the oral relates are reproductions they are repetitions, fragments recreated from a single situation but not from the same angle, nowadays the surveillance technology works as the almighty, multiple eyes observing us and possibly watching further than we see from our own routines, this kind of event is like a virtual oral history, for instance if  some official agency wants to support its hypothesis about any security matter, this one recurs to this oracle. The artificial eye serves as an instrument to pursue the individual that they need to interrogate, lens used as a path to the oral evidence.

What is doing Hasan Elahi while over exposing himself using the same system which breaks the privacy is something that I find as a double sword as has argued Pierre Bourdieou in About the Televsion the best way of hiding something is showing it until the limit of the saturation, this works as a pornographic effect after many shots of the same the flesh loss its value of desire.  He is giving them the pieces of evidence that they already have gotten as everything has been captured before, as an electronic impulse which has a digital copy somewhere in the net. However I find this strategy interesting as a form of art due the material of his work is not a traditional craft or concept, this action works as an encounter to discuss with others themes related to social structures that we need to debate.

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About angelrokatz

Independet Curator and Visual artist
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2 Responses to Public Enemy

  1. Neen says:

    Taking two points here I find really interesting – 1. ‘object which is not present’ 2. ‘Televsion the best way of hiding something is showing it until the limit of the saturation’

    I am particularly interested in this partly due to the way I see connections between this and theories to do with mourning and melancholia. I don’t pretend to fully grasp these concepts, do you feel that this relates at all?

    Moreover I can see links between this and Baudrillard and hyper reality ‘”The simulation of something, which never really existed.” – Jean Baudrillard. Again I don’t claim to fully understand this and of course there is a way in which it can never be fully understood but perhaps there are links to be made here between the two concepts.

  2. paula roush says:

    hi, john, there are very interesting connections being made here between desai and hamlin (2009)approaches to artists work with archives and contemporary work that stretches the definitions of art work as information and documentation. And as Nina reminds us, we can productively link this to Baudrillard’s theories of hyper reality. I sent you the link to a slightly edited version of the post (for spelling & grammar). take a look and let me know.

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