Kathryn’s post Week 1-Artist: George Brecht
George Brecht (1926-2008) was a chemist by trade, but a key member in early conceptual art and important member of Fluxus from 1962-1978. He is credited with being an early influencer in participatory art, mail art and other conceptual art. Much of his art deals with the everyday, the random and sounds (and repurposing sounds as music), taking notice of the everyday and appreciating it.
Quote: “There is perhaps nothing that is not musical. Perhaps there’s no moment in life that’s not musical…All instruments, musical or not, become instruments.”
Example text multiples work:
Event Score-a set of simple instructions to complete tasks
For single or multiple performance. A source of dripping water and an empty vessel are arranged so that the water falls into the vessel.
First mail art through Contingent Publications: Assembly instructions to “construct” a concert using motor vehicle sounds.
Discuss proposals posted on the blog for Text multiples
Demo on design and publishing with Nathan (30 minutes)
Yoko Ono WAR IS OVER!, 2008-2009 IMAGINE PEACE in 24 languages Holiday Billboards Times Square, New York, NY Photo by: Karla Merrifield © Yoko Ono
Look at work in progress, designs together
Troubleshoot technical stuff with Nathan
Finished designs must be sent to print professionally by this weekend, or to Nathan by Sunday night!
- SUMMARY OF WEEK ONE WORK:
- Participate in introductions and course information, demo of WordPress in class
- Listen to short lecture on artist multiples.
- TO DO: A short post on one artist from the list will be due for a 3 minute presentation on WEDNESDAY of this week.
- A new work of text-based multiple will be assigned, due for final critique in Week 4. Details to be provided.
Welcome back to school everyone, I’m very happy to have a way to come together to learn about contemporary experimental art practices. During the pandemic, we will engage in weekly exercises, demos, readings and videos to learn some of the historic, theoretical, and technical aspects of working in experimental media forms.
Our virtual course will emphasize ideas, research, regular exercises and practices, and we will work on developing resolved artworks.
Students will perform and create studio exercises at home and in the world – within strict adherence to public health guidelines at all times – using materials and situations at hand. Together we will practice being resourceful and creative within the limits of any given situation. We will explore how to be an artist now – using aspects of performance, snapshot photography, video, audio, and artist multiples – in this unique and challenging historical moment.
Every week we will have Monday and Wednesday class meetings – and then you will do the week’s homework (things to read, write and create) posted under Weekly Assignments.
Due dates are shared on the Weekly assignment pages, and on the tentative schedule found here:
You will need approximately 4-6 hours to complete your work for this course every week in addition to class meeting time.
Schedule your work and you will be able to keep up with your assignments!
All your notes, images and videos must be on the class BLOG – under your name.
ONLY edit your own page – do not edit anything else on the blog.
I will periodically read and evaluate your work on the BLOG and we will look at examples of works by students together in our class ZOOM.
Instructions for the world:
Text based prompts, interventions, and multiples
Napkins (Materials Safety Data Sheet)
2011, Multiple, paper serviettes printed with one of three colours of ink. 5″ x 5″
A Clock Set to 24 Hours Into The Future
2014-2015, public artwork for Sheridan College’s Temporary Contemporary, Trafalgar Campus, Oakville Ontario.
“Unlike most campus clocks, this one has been set 24 hours fast, always displaying “tomorrow’s time.” Of course, on a four-numeral digital clock, tomorrow’s time appears indistinguishable from “today’s time,” and therein lies a small bit of levity that is intended to open up a range of poetic interpretations.”
“A clock tower running 24 hours fast is in fact practical and functional in the present, but serves also as an aspirational signpost pointing towards the idea of tomorrow.” From his site Jon Sasaki
(the accompanying didactic panel)
An Obsolete Calendar Towel Embroidered with an Identical, Future Calendar Year,
1970/2065, 1982/2049, 1976/2032 and 1969/2042
2012, ongoing, embroidered found vintage textiles, each approx. 17″ x 28″.
In an ongoing series, obsolete calendar towels have been embroidered with the date of an identical, future calendar year. Beyond giving the discarded object a renewed relevance, it proposes a disturbingly banal vision of the future… that decades from now we will still be pining for some vague 19th century inspired nostalgia… covered bridges, copper kettles, cast iron stoves and millponds… images that were anachronistic wishful fictions even at the time the calendars were first printed.From his site Jon Sasaki
Please Don’t Take This 1000 Yen
2013, intervention in the neighbourhood of Konohana, Osaka Japan.
Upon arriving in Osaka, I observed hundreds of bicycles that had either flimsy locks, or no locks at all to secure them. I surmised there was some sort of honor system in play, and decided to test it a little. The results were surprising to me.
Four signs were placed around the neighbourhood early one morning, asking residents to please not take the 1000 Yen bill attached to it.
Two of the signs remained untouched until I retrieved them late that night. One sign disappeared mid-afternoon, although it probably had something to do with it being posted on the city’s bulletin board without permission. The fourth sign disappeared late in the day, which still impressed me. It turns out it was taken by a random, concerned neighbour who wanted to safeguard it. She did some sleuthing, somehow correctly guessed the restaurant I would be visiting later that night, and returned it (along with the 1000 Yen of course) a few hours before I arrived.
On his website, Lee Walton writes: “For Momentary Performances (2008-2010), I used vinyl text on city walls to announce ordinary moments that will take place. These texts are installed throughout the city weeks prior to each performance. Nearly 20 of these public works took place in Minnesota and Atlanta.
After acting out the script exactly on schedule, actors casually disappear into the city as if completely unaware of the descriptive text. Unexpected public is left to wonder about the reality of the serendipitous occurrence.”
The Experiential Project
Art in General, Project Space, 2005
These postcards became the access points for experiential interactions with shop owners, bars, barber shops, sandwich cafes, boxing clubs, and hidden city spaces. When a participant located the hidden starting point, an orchestrated experience unfolded. Participants become performers as more instructions and prompts are discovered embedded throughout each journey.
“Lee Walton’s “Experimental Project” at Art in General is a sort of walking cacophony. It consists of a packet of cards, each with brief instructions that set you off on a situationist drift or do-it-yourself performance. A few weeks ago, one card sent you to a marvelous Asian store on Lafayette Street, where you were instructed to look “inside large music book on the top shelf.” A slip of paper then directed you to buy a lottery ticket and take it to a parking lot where you were sent to an OTB parlor and then led to a Chinese cardiologist and so on. This week’s instructions read, “Nancy Whiskey Pub. Lispenard at West Broadway. Inside pocket of red jacket.”
by Jerry Saltz
WRITE: Due in Wednesday’s class to present–
You will be assigned one of the artists below. Post 2 examples (image and description) of great text based works – look for instructions, scores, prompts, advertised events, and multiples that use text in a conceptual way.
Describe the artist’s general approach in their broader practice, along with why you like the works selected – how do these objects work in the world? How is the artist’s use of language different from other forms of public text? How do they use materials, fonts, and other formal decisions to activate the text?
You will have 3-4 minutes MAX to present the two works to class.
Mendi and Kieth Obadike
Give short presentations
Assign Text piece
Instructions for the world:
Text based prompts, interventions, and multiples
DETAILS TBD in next class.
Make an artist multiple that centres text as a main element – the text should be employed conceptually – you may use it to:
-Give prompts, propose uncommon actions
-Provide instructions for absurd or unexpected things
-Trick the viewer in a pro-social way
-Make minor sentiments majorly declarative
-Document a banal, ephemeral thing in an important or permanent manner
-Play with an awareness of fonts, styles, and with text as a material, or an abstraction
– Subvert the intentions of found text
-Give voice in public to something not usually spoken in public
-Consider some of the strategies empoloyed by the artists discussed in class
You will be able to use 13×9″ high quality paper to make an edition or a series of postcards, a poster or other paper based ephemera. Nathan will complete the printing for you in studio – deadlines to be discussed in class.
Works must be properly finished to a professional level – and documented in an appropriate context to show the intended manner of circulation/presentation of the work.
You may also choose to make a T-shirt, hat, a magnet, a mug – or other printed ephemera that you will need to find and have printed on your own and in time – in order to document the work and present it in class for final critique.
NEXT WEEK MONDAY: Post a proposal drawing/ideas, we will discuss in class, along with a publishing/design demo
Deadline for finished files to be sent to Nathan (or elsewhere) to print: Week 3 Friday Jan. 28
Final critique: Week 4 Wed. Feb. 2
WEEK 1 ASSIGNMENTS
Hiba Abdallah is an Arabic contemporary artist (who completed her MFA at the University of Guelph!) interested in exploring the varying politics and social beliefs of communities. Her work is almost always public, either through collaboration with other artists, or with the general public.
Commissioned by the MOCA in Toronto, ON, Rehearsing Disagreement is a series of participatory works by Hiba and artist Justin Langlois. Included is a dartboard, seesaw, and customizable worksheet style text pieces that museum-goers can interact with. All works in this series investigate conflict of opinions and allow people to co-exist in their disagreement. Not only this, but the interactive manner of these art pieces break down barriers of what art galleries have been stereotyped as in the past – sterile, quiet environments where the viewer cannot touch and interact with art on a tactile level.
Something Written to the White House
Something Written to the White House is an ongoing text based art initiative in which the public can write postcards to the White House that are later on sent (According to rules set in place by the institution, all letters MUST be opened and read by the White House). This text based art initiative connects to another ongoing art initiative of Hiba’s: Something Written in the Arabic Language. The fronts of the postcards sent to the White House literally translate to “Something Written in the Arabic Language”, serving as a tongue-in-cheek mockery of the racism and absolutely ill-placed fear towards Muslim people that was especially prevalent during Trump’s presidency. Retrieved from Hiba’s website, these hand-written messages display a wide array of personal messages for Trump in particular.
Overall, both of these pieces by Hiba Abdallah employ text-based artwork to display different opinions the public. I like the way Hiba presents these contemporary art pieces because they appeal to a childlike part of the brain while still remaining introspective. They are different from other forms of public text because the message of said text is entirely up to the participator, not the artist.
Horvitz is an American artist born in 1981 who’s work is inspired by Fluxus art and it’s focus on movement. He often critiques the commercialization of art and shares many of his works through physically passing on or mailing small-scale pieces, known as mail art. The way in which Horvitz explores movement in his work is particularly interesting, he makes his pieces very widely accessible through sending physical copies around the world or through digitally sharing them. By using the virtual sphere, Horvitz is able to make easily accessible editions of a single piece, or can even build off of an original concept by having the work navigate and interact with online spaces.
One example of virtual movement is his piece “Mood Disorder”, from 2015, where Horvitz took a staged picture of himself in a helpless pose, commonly seen in stock imagery representing depression or other mood disorders. The work was then posted on the Wikipedia page for “Mood disorder”, and since it was free and licensed for reuse, his photograph started to show up on other websites and articles discussing mood. So, the work became an artist book as the series grew and the image propagated across the internet. In this work, Horvitz plays with the stereotypical images used for depression in an almost satirical comment on mental health, and the fact that so many other sites were using it just highlights the modern need for a commodified “look” that can represent serious, intangible topics.
After several sites had picked up his original image and repurposed it, Horvitz collected screenshots of them and included them in the final piece. He says that the piece itself is “the image propagating over the internet”, while so many others add a new context to the original picture through the use of text. It’s an interesting take on authorship as a way of defining an artwork as yours, but one that you enter into the public sphere and can be reinterpreted and reproduced by everyone who views it.
Mental health and the depiction of depression in online imagery are common forms of inspiration in Horvitz’s work, which can be seen in a more recent piece called “20th Century Alienation”. In the piece, Horvitz has 27 pieces of paper pinned up with groups of words on each one that begin with the same letter. Each page is dedicated to one letter of the alphabet, and the there is one page that is dedicated to numbers. It’s an alphabetical poem consisting purely of words used to describe online images depicting sadness, loneliness, or depression. These words are “tags” that are used in photo databases to represent the content of the images, so once again Horvitz is using online tools as a foundation for his work. There are no images in the work, so it shows how photography is circulated through indexation online. Although the debossed editions are no longer in production, you are still able to get a PDF version of the text and print out the 27 pages yourself, in whatever way you’d like.
So, in both these works, Horvitz explores the circulation of digital imagery and how it is used to depict complex emotional subjects. He also invites collaboration in his work, starting with a strong foundation but allowing the viewer or wider, online audiences to interact with the art and further develop it.
Janice Kerbel is a British Artist born in 1969. She works with a range of material that including print, type, audio recording as well as the recent playing of light . Her work includes existing languages from a wide range of disciplines and re-imaging them. Her practice tries to imagine and develop new forms, which can be seen through many of her art pieces that including on her silkscreen prints on paper.
Janice Kerbel, Score, ‘Fall’
Janice Kerbel, Score, ‘Crash’
Why I choose these pieces …
I choose both silkscreen pieces that having Janice’s practice in developing new forms. The first peice I choose was “Score, ‘Fall’, 2015, 10 silkscreen prints on paper” where she split up her work into different pieces, but still continuing onto the next pages forming a motion or even showing a wave of words giving the piece movement implying a “fall” like its very name. The piece moves heavily from the top being more condensed then moves more openly when at the bottom where the words are more scattered. Having such words like “HEAD”, “PLUNGE”, MET”, “SHARP”, “snaps”, “BIRD” and other suffixes like “ing” almost adding to some words creating new ones like a scrabble game, such as “BIRD” and “ing” being close to one another making a new word, “Bing”. In a conceptual way, as the concept is more important than the execution, where Kerbel uses words and motion to convey this image of new form of a fall. The second piece I choose also shared the same concept of movement and also included letters, similar to the other piece I’ve chosen. Having the name “Crash” where her letters are formed into a visual image. The letters build up then crash by the end. This act of a crash shows her theme of “new forms” and the act of movement.
I choose these 2 pieces because It looks like inking or just printmaking that I thought was cool and the chaos of letters in an organized manner just jumped out to me as everything is so clean and well put together and that each individual letter can be a all put together as a multiple. These objects work in the world because we, as humans, are more advanced and now type more rather than hand write our work, so her piece just fits into today’s society era of technology. The artist use of language is different because she doesn’t form any sentences, rather she just makes it into a movement through words and letters like suffixes. The uses of font is vast by the different sized fonts in both pieces as well as the uses of caps where she makes some words in all caps. This usage of font activates the texts by creating a use of space in her piece that eventually lead to her meaning on movement and “new” form.
How the Art is made …
janice kerbel’s works
Week 1 – Wednesday’s Short Assignment (Michael Drebert)
I find the broader aspects of Michael Drebert to be fascinating, the idea of making these on litho stones and not just a paintbrush or marker is so cool. A lot of his work is based around the litho stones and making these text-based works as well as other works that are also thought-provoking. I loved looking at and reading his pieces through his work pdf that he has posted on his website.
These objects work in the world because they are so simple but thought-provoking, like imaging passing that on the street and wondering what mind would have created this piece, I love it. I love how these two pieces alone show the different sides of the artist, what made him want to try to create fire with all the available light, what made him think the other piece would get him to see the Queen. I have attached the works information below so you can also read see how the artist themselves see these pieces when putting together pieces of works.
I find the language in these pieces is slightly different despite them being made by the same artist. The available light one seems more like a threat than anything else, like watch out all over the city because it is going to happen but not sure when or when next to the exact day. The other piece is almost a threat as well but instead of a whole city it is just a person that has really high authority, but it also seems like a vague statement, like I will set out and I will enjoy my time but I will also complete my mission, kind of feel next to a plain threat like the Available Light piece.
The Queen’s Eyes, 2009
Materials: entrance ticket to Buckingham Palace
Size: dimensions variable
Leaving Victoria, BC, I set out for England to try and look into the Queen of England’s
Work exhibited at the Ministry of Casual Living, Victoria, BC.
Available Light, 2008
Materials: lithograph posters, fire
Size: dimensions variable
Over 1500 lithographic posters were placed around the city of Vancouver, BC
announcing that I would try to start a fire using only “available light.”
This project was commissioned by Artspeak gallery in Vancouver, BC
Scott King is a British artist born in 1969. King trained as a graphic designer and his work showcases an interest in how iconic images can be used as symbols to communicate information when detached from their original meaning. His interest in iconography can be seen in the following works:
Temporary Eyesore, Bankside, London SE1, 2008.
Temporary Eyesore, in I Beam U Channel, Bortolami, New York, 2016.
Temporary Eyesore, 2008/2016
Temporary Eyesore is a hoarding exhibit commissioned by the Architecture Foundation in association with Tate Modern. The goal of the 2008 project was to ‘transform this temporary and unsightly hoarding by means of an artwork”. The design was adapted into a ‘mesh hoarding’ for the 2016 I Beam U Channel group exhibition in New York. Hoarding exhibits typically aim to display public art that removes the unattractive aspects of construction, yet King decided to diverge from that approach. This conceptual, text-based work provokes a feeling of industrialism that calls the viewer to pay attention to what the piece itself actually is: a construction hoarding. Aspects of Temporary Eyesore including the contrasting colours, bold text, and the use of hoarding material communicate a sense of caution, especially because similar colours, text and material would be found in construction zones. The words “temporary eyesore” are cynical, while also ironic when placed into the context of art. The technical and conceptual aspects of this piece work very well together, contributing to both my personal taste and the success of the piece.
Pop-Kultur: Mogwai, 2016
This piece by Scott King is a poster for a performance by Mogwai at Berlin’s Pop-Kulture festival in August 2016. The festival organizers’ goal was to overfill the poster with explanatory information, which King decided to implement as a design feature. The black text on the white background is reminiscent of a book or magazine, especially with the use of the footnotes featured at the bottom of the poster. The various fonts and text sizes create a diverse visual experience without causing too much distraction or obnoxiousness. The poster creates a feeling of confusion because there is so much information to take in, but when looking closer at the footnotes it is clear that the information listed is promotional rather than educational. King uses font, colour and material to his advantage when communicating through text-based work. The magazine-inspired look is attention-grabbing, and the overfilling with text is humorous and effective when read more closely. This text-based poster work is effective at drawing in interest through curiosity, as well as providing an artistically effective pastiche to this literary style.