Re-reading “Conceptual Art and Eastern Europe” by Zdenka Badovinac. In the text Charles Harrison talks about how “Conceptual art is the collapse of the boundary between artistic and theoretical practice, the idea that theoretical practice might be a primary artistic practice” (This sounds very similar to Boris Groys writes about in “In the Flow”). While reading a critical idea came to mind: Theory is something which validity can be tested. This indicates that the conceptual art of late 70ties was a prelude to art as a social practice which aspires to have a positive impact in the communities it addresses (aka. art utilized to build wellbeing in communities). Art & Language style conceptual art is embedded with a profit target!
A revealing part of the text is were Groys identifies how the seemingly un-political art made by soviet-artist Kabakov, Komar & Melamid, which was not against the regime (it was “non-pro, non-con, non-anti”) – Was actually an aggressive deconstructivist practice. The movement declined to build its credibility by celebrating the underdog position avantgarde is shoved into. Because the works weren’t ideologically against or with the regime they forced the audiences to interpret the works from a perspective which was outside the systems boundaries and control.
Groys says: “We were deconstructionists and didn’t want to be politically engaged, since this could somehow be a trap, when people took precisely the positions power wanted them to take—even if it is a dissident position. So we tried to escape this kind of framework—not to find a place within it as dissidents, but to question it, to escape the entire ideological framework.”.
Cristina Freire explains how the notion of an artist differs in Latin America and the West: “… idea of participation, which Hélio Oiticica was really into, meant that it was very important to not be an artist. The idea of an autonomous work of art really didn’t matter at all”. A very important point she makes is that: “When Latin American artists from this period are discussed in the West, they are assimilated into Western art history. “.
I got issues with the Discogs database. I met Mikko Kuorinki, talked about the Record Singers empty record cover and learned about Discogs. I entered the artwork into the database over the weekend and celebrated that found a good company. The database enables users to create lists which help to build context for oddballs like the empty record cover. There are lists for “Freakshow: A museum of strangeness” etc. packed with similar inspirational titles. I found Christian Marclays “Record Without A Cover” in one these lists. Inspirational stuff (Now I want to make an LP too).
I entered the empty record cover to the database and contacted some of the list maintainers to suggest it as an entry for their virtual collections. Unfortunately this effort led to a user initiative to remove the empty record cover entry from the database. This was done based on the fact that it is “Not an audio format”. It was tagged “not eligible for this database” because it’s was seen as a piece of cardboard – not even a piece of vinyl or other audio carrier.
I complained about the decision. Record Singers group has presented the piece as a record and that has to count for something! It is a radical departure from the traditions of audible music and makes silent recordings (and compositions) of its time appear superficial. As it was removed it means that the record will remain in the same lonely fringe of music it was made for. I’m feel that the vote on the records validity was too quick but I understand the desire to keep discogs entries in the audible spectrum. I don’t think there would have been many entries like this, so it wouldn’t have threatened the integrity of the database.
It remains in a purgatory state inside the database as only people who have the direct link to the entry can access its: https://www.discogs.com/release/8389026. I felt sad and made a song about my experience with Discogs to cope with the tragedy.
My talk for Ihme-days is now on youtube. I’m pretty proud of the relaxed tone of the talk. It was prepped during the Error Collectives Serious Inspections-“talkshow” with Nestori Syrjälä, Pekka & Teija Isorättyä which is on youtube too.
The only thing I miss about twitter is @SUCHHELSINKIs witty comments.