Posts Tagged 'internet'

A discussion about the future of art in public space

Martijn van Berkum, Rotterdam – – Great things in life don’t last. We’ve learned it last week when, after two decades of depression, the Dutch soccer team finally shook off the superb style of the old Dutch masters and defeated France and Italy with stunning postmodern efficiency. We saw it yesterday and learned that the new style had no more than a one-week lifespan… and the Dutch team lost against Russia… Despite the odds, Anna Tilroe, curator of the Sonsbeek 2008 exhibition, decided to organize this year’s edition around the theme ‘Grandeur’. But will this greatness last?

I invite you to join a discussion about the future of art in public space.

Sonsbeek traditionally stands for the largest outdoor exhibition in the Netherlands, a legacy it owns largely to the legendary edition of 1971 that presented the first land and performance art of that time. It sought to extend and challenge the barriers of art: its location, the white cube, the relation to its environment and audience, and its presupposed autonomy and universality.

Whereas the 1971 edition was the first one to leave the Sonsbeek park and integrate the art works into the city of Arnhem, Tilroe has decided to revert this dispersion and return to the park. Alongside, the tradition of examining the relational and site-specific aspects of art has been abandoned as well. The works seem to be out-of-place, self-contained entities that bare little or no relation to the environment, its historicity, nor its visitors.

Zooming out of the exhibition and looking at art in public space from a larger perspective, I see more problems. The public domain traditionally represented a highly dynamic place where opinions and world-views were published and public discussions were situated. That quality is diminishing, a process that is caused by a number of factors: the privatization of public space for one (read more about that in this article on Point of view, by Janna Holmstedt), the commodification of public art works and, above all, the gradual dispersion of the public debate itself into new and more vital sites and media such as weblogs, internet forums, schools, community centers, comments sections of news papers and art initiatives in neighborhoods.

Therefore I ask you the following question: What is the future of art in public space?
You are invited to join a discussion in the comments section of this article.

Take-away concerts

WOW! This blog is so nice! Les concerts a emporter (take-away concerts) publishes on a regular basis street concerts, often by well-known bands (Arcade fire, Architecture in Helsinki etc). The high quality filming results into small site-specific artworks. 

From Be Kind Rewind in Soho, to Sweding online.

A very nice thing about living temporary somewhere is that you have time. Time to stand in line for example, and enjoy it. As a Swede this is extra nice, since we don´t stand in lines very much in our country. We more often have the alternative of the cue number machines, which make it possible to neatly spread out so we don´t need to encounter each other.

Today I went to the opening of the show Be Kind Rewind by Michel Gondry at the Deitch Projects located in Soho, New York. About the same time the opening opened, I turned around the corner of Wooster Street, and walked down the block a little embarresed since I imagined I would be one of the first people to enter (and that is, as we all know, never pleasant). As I got closer I started to realize the scale of the surprize I was about to get. From the entrance down the whole block, all the way to – and round the corner on Canal street, there was a line of hundreds of people waiting to get in – to the same opening as me. It was like going to a concert! It took me almost a minute to get to the end of the “worm” of people, where I positioned myself and prepared for a long wait.

In the line everybody around me comments on “how crazy this is”, and happily continue to wait. A police car passes slowly and the driver turns the window down and ask us what is going on. When he finds out he laughs and turn on the lights at the roof top, as a little cheering performane. The atmosphere is very high with lots of conversations and laughs. A girl approaches a man beside me and asks:
– Is it only open tonight?
– No, it´s on untill march!
– Then why is everybody standing in the line?
– Well, it´s the opening night! She shakes her head and leave.

After almost an hour I am inside. Someone hands me a flyer with the headline: MAKE YOUR OWN MOVIE. The whole scenario in the gallery is like a film setting with different settings like a forest, a car with a moving landscape behind, a livingroom, a street, an escalator etc. They are all from the film Be Kind Rewind which will be out soon. The concept at Deitch is that one can request for a suitable time to come and use any of the settings, or all of them and shoot your own film. In the press release Gondry states, “I don’t intend nor have the pretension to teach how to make films. Quite the contrary. I intend to prove that people can enjoy their time without being part of the commercial system and serving it. Ultimately, I am hoping to create a network of creativity and communication that is guaranteed to be free and independent from any commercial institution.”
At the very crowded opening people are acting and playing around like crazy in the different settings with full outfit and in different role plays. It´s like a gigantic rehersal with included audience. I leave Deitch with a happy face.

Back at home I enter to watch trailers. I will not say too much about it cause I don´t want to spoil the pleasure of entering the site…I highly recommend a visit! Both online and in the gallery world of Be Kind Rewind. I look forward to the final ”level”, the film! And one thing is certain, I realize a Swede like myself has her lucky day today; Michel Gondry made it official – the verb Sweding – thanks Michel!

Paul McCarthy on Ubuweb

Today I discovered this fantastic Paul McCarthy video on Ubuweb. It’s about the frustrating life of the painter, which, at times, is hilarious and funny. For instance when McCarthy – with a huge nose – starts yelling at his gallerist that he wants a big catalog, or when he is murmering the name of De Kooning for several minutes when he is mixing paint.

When watching the video I remembered the text underneath from the exhibition catalogue of his exhibition in the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, a few years ago. The text isn’t half bad, but at the same time it shows how an intellectual vocabulary just doesn’t quite manage to cover the complete psychological mess and dark side of humans that McCarthy reveals in his work. As a result, the whole text almost starts to sound ironic:

[…] McCarthy appropriates modern myths and impregnates them with new critical content. He is interested in the deeper psychological layers of a culture captured in the play of family, education and media […]

Ps Furthermore Ubuweb has a huge archive of art videos (including many of the early performance videos of i.e. Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman)

Unfortunately I cannot embed the video in here. Underneath is a fragment from Youtube; you can find the whole video on this page on Ubuweb.


The Kiss – Dan Colen

Due to a mouse arm a slight decrease in posting the last time. To give a sign of life, a quick note about this beautiful picture by Dan Colen which I found on one of my favourite weblogs: VVORK, a weblog that produces a daily stream of weird and fascinating art works, lots of pictures, I really like the episode where VVORK collected a series works that deal with books.

Little People / cutest weblog

Little People is one of cutest weblogs I know. From ‘Slinkachu‘ (his/her alias), and while you’re at it, check out his/her other weblogs as well: Beautiful vandalism and A world of birds.

Little people are photographs of miniature installations in public space with, needless to say, little people. There’s always a subtle and comical reference to the ‘big world’ in the background, often appearing as cruel, dominant and violent.

Check out A world of birds (subtitle: an exploration of avian species through the medium of comic strip). Unfortunately inactive since October last year, nevertheless, a hilariously funny collection of comics featuring birds.

Process works / Steel white table

Process works are works there are never finished, always in a process of ‘becoming’. For instance this weblog is not only a tool for us contributors to share our ideas with you, the audience – who in our case have the possibility to become contributors as well (since we want to open our weblog to everyone who’s interested in participating). But it is also a living entity that is trying to define its identity through constant change (by adding new ideas, abandoning older ones, inviting new members etc.).

Anyway, its a prelude to a very funny project I ran across today, the steelwhitetable weblog. They have started a post with a five words sentence that readers can change by adding five new words in the comments section. Hence, gradually a story emerges, and the funny thing about it is the fact that because it is always changing, it never gets to an essence and therefore alteration itself seems to become the subject of the story.

Recent articles

“Veiling the unveiled truth”: the conceptual art of Silvio Berlusconi
Published August 3, 2008 by Antonio Scarponi

We all know that the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a man of talents. First of all he is a man of spectacle, a perfect actor from the old school. He is able to dance, sing and his practical jokes are famous world wide [...] We all know these skills, but recently in two occasion he demonstrated also to have great talent as conceptual artist.
Made in Sweden
Published July 9, 2008 by Trial and error

On a recent journey we visited two well-known Asian landmarks: The Chinese Dragon Gate and the Royal Thai Pavilion, both located in remote places in Sweden.
From motorcycles to 3,5 million pieces of art
Published July 3, 2008, 2008 by Marja Salaspuro and Sergio Davila

Can classical conservative museum structure keep its historically layered architecture, rooms, collections and objects – and still attract the interest of the modern visitors, mainstream tourists and experience seeking travelers? A philosophical reconsideration around the purpose of museums in our era and the architect’s role as a curator.

Popular articles

My Sweden: Clean spaces, Clean information
Published June 12, 2007 by Trial and Error

”I dont understand what you mean by street art. If it has no permission, it is regular destruction and should be punished. I think it is equal to destroying someones car.”
Mikael Söderlund, vice mayor Stockholm ...
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder where you are?
Published January 3, 2008 by Katja Aglert

Imagine a future generation who has never seen a star in real life. It’s a future when the night sky has transformed into a thick layer of artificial light and micro particles that doesn’t let through the sight of any stars or planets, not even the moon is visible. What effect would that have on us and other life forms on earth? ...