Week 6: August 27th


Assessment tasks

Written task What is art? What is art history? How does art relate to visual Culture?

Visual Culture – may be seen as a tool or archaeology and history – other frames through which to look at art and artefacts –

  • What is the medium of the work?
  • The exhibition/happening – in today’s networked culture – artists bring people together to construct works – the art work becomes interaction between artist and viewers – e.g. Speed Dating at Kings Gallery (Melbourne) – the people became the work – the art object is curated by a connoisseur – a de-bugging of the white cube exhibition space – but, should we be accepting this art uncritically, just because someone else has chosen this work as ‘worthy’ for exhibition? – the space itself frames the work – and determines the meanings constructed by viewers of that work – the word ‘viewer’ implies just looking passively, but when people look, they also interpret – through the feelings, the senses, the brain – thinking intellectually, past experience, knowledge of what art is, education, culture, The act of viewing is active – not passive. (MK said children experience by tactile – touching of art works – which is forbidden in most galleries)
  • Primitive art – what is the purpose of this? We don’t know, can only surmise. (MK reiterates that the series How Art Made the World (BBC) as being a worthwhile resource in this subject.
  • Propaganda is also linked to visual images – visual images are one of the most effective ways to sway the people. (e.g. the image of George Bush as the great leader after 9:11 events. – a la Nuremberg Rallies)

The Major Assignment – New Wilderness

The aim is to tie in concepts pertaining to Visual Literacy into the theory of the New Wilderness concept.

Michael Foucault quote: “What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?”

  • Picasso – using the everyday as part of an art work – Still life with chair caning
  • Duchamp – Readymades
  • Artists of 19th and early 20th century inspired by primitive art – searching for the essence, rather than a realistic photographic representation
  • No longer the cult of the artist-genius – now the work is king – where the artist is sublimated behind the work. (The artists use the technology and media that are available to them, and always have. Now we have e.g. the internet, and digital technology.)
  • MK “The internet has led to the democratisation of education and art” – you can do courses online (for free – payment is only when there is assessment required)
  • Whereas earlier university art schools specialised in specific areas – now there is a much greater melding of these “rhizome theory” ” Deleuze and Guattari use the terms “rhizome” and “rhizomatic” to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizome_%28philosophy%29
  • There is a Marxist reaction by some academics towards the traditional exhibition in the traditional gallery – market driven by what others have, money, status and power
  • My life as a work of art – art is the reality of one’s life – art cannot be separated from the culture in which it appears.
  • There is currently an anti-aesthetic movement – you can’t control the aesthetics of co-created work – the artist may have no control at all over the outcome (e.g. Maria Abramovic) – conceptual art – we are conditioned to want something to happen – the slowing down, lack of something happening may be part of the message. There are now theories of nothing – is nothing something? What is nothing? “planet entertainment” MK

The new wilderness project – how can we create in the Project Space, create in it, set up something to happen in it?

Merinda’s Provocation Workshop

  • Every object is a thing, but not every thing is an object (the artist thinks about objects as things – Heidegger (Martin) – “Thing theory” – the theory of the thing – the thing resists, stands outside language or object, the things may not be a physical object – exists – but is a construct – informed by our knowledge of a series of events that demonstrate its reality.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Heidegger
  • New theories of materialism – new materialism – even virtual objects have some sort of connection with the real world – are linked to real objects – e.g. the camera, software, photos (e.g. of people on social media – can be put up without the knowledge of the person in the photo).
  • Our ‘exhibition’ – could include performative element – can use music, don’t need to be constrained by our past work – ‘see the things you choose not to do as having significant to the work you do do.’ MK
  • Should we let go of aesthetic? Allow our participants to engage with our space –
  • The gallery space itself already gives the ‘audience’ a sense of anticipation – of what they might see, how they will interact with the work (if just passive, or perhaps more active). Do we pre-empt a specific response. (cited Shelley Jardine’s documentation of how people move within galleries to lead to new works)
  • Consider the whole space – floor and walls, roof – consider different levels – consider/angle/
  • The notion

The notion of identity

  • We need to reflect on identity – not just self-identity – e.g. the male gaze (the portrayal of the female)
  • Gender pressures
  • How do we define the concept of identity? Does this change over time?
  • Part of identity is self-perception.
  • Does a place have an identity? Eg. Geelong with changing identity. Transitional phase. Where does Geelong sit in the world today, and how does this affect the individual’s identity.
  • g. what is ‘un-Australian’ – what does ‘being Australian’ mean
  • Visually – how is Australia/Australian depicted?
  • How much does physical appearance effect self-concept – identity – once again consider this in the light of gender and race/colour/class. Link to advertising – you are only worthwhile if you buy this product. Same with places we inhabit – e.g. our homes – do we decorate/change these, or merely camp in them.
  • How do others see you? Does this change your self-concept? How?
  • Notions of creative transformation (in relation to Geelong)
  • Integration of all the websites, accounts etc. associated with the project.
  • g. Paolo Friere (Marxist theories) – Brazil – ways for factory workers to become educated – distributed networks of education (transforming societies)

Ideas from Merinda (from what is happening in the art world currently)

  • Letter to the people of the world (from Occupy movement NY) – propaganda to have people join the occupy movement
  • We have a voice as agents of change – do the viewers become participants? Can they make things? Interact to create things.
  • Mass consumerism to mass customisation – there is a movement for people to tailor individually – e.g. 3-D printing on demand.
  • DIY – from the hacker movement – the bespoke DIY reinvention.
  • Cultural undergrounds – in the past these happened in ‘real’ spaces – now in the virtual world – online communities –e.g. following particular music, bands, artists.
  • Virtual performances/exhibition spaces – (e.g. Stellarc – artist – lots of people on the computer working ‘together’ in real time)
  • The eclipse of spectacular culture by data-driven online culture.
  • The post-critical society –“Is our new world defined by the number of likes on Facebook?”
  • We don’t believe in anything any more – lack of reverence for institutions (e.g. universities) – higher education has lost its allure
  • Less direction from the top – more collaboration – less hierarchical.
  • Swarm theory in relation to the internet – especially social media.

The tents – each person to use a tent for their work –

On the Cloud – there are different themes – e.g.

  • The gaze
  • Symbols
  • Propaganda, advertising and art
  • Commodity and the culture of possession – object status – you may use objects within your space.
  • Suspension of things in the space – may be an issue.
  • Identity and the body
  • Art and Technology

Jeremy Deller quote: “I went from being an artist who makes things, to being an artist who makes things happen.”

Geelong – as a transformation – how can New Wilderness – be a catalyst for change in Geelong – the people being agents of their own future?