Bought a tickets to Sonic Arts Union: David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, Robert Ashley (in memoriam) gig on Friday. I have no idea what the gig is going to be like but the texts are convincing.
Messaged Agnes Denes and requested an interview (Got a reply and send her a list of questions to consider).
Participated in a talk by Imara Limon’s on New Narratives at the Amsterdam Museum at the Independent Curators International spaces in Manhattan. The New Narratives program is an ongoing series of events, exhibitions and pedagogical programs which seek to develop critical approaches to the Amsterdam museums existing practices and permanent collection. Visitors of the museum have been offered “colonial nostalgia” trough exhibitions which focus on the “Golden Age of the City”. For example Dutch 17th century group portraits and the display of luxurious objects disguise the violence of colonial practise, trough which wealth was accumulated the families displayed in the paintings.
Limon explained that the past isn’t painful, what’s painful is that contemporary institutions have not changed and diversified their practices. Diversity and inclusion are frequently discussed (superficiality trough banderols on museum walls) but the discussions seldom have an impact on how the museums actually work. To change the narrative she had organised museum tours which were guided by a diverse range of guides, who made sense the collection from their perspectives. They were also working to add new subtext to items in the collection. “It’s not about output – It’s about the input” she explained.
I’m not sure but I thought that this meant that they are trying to change how the museum make sense of the world (I tried to ask more about this but I couldn’t frame my question properly). When asked if there are taboos that she was advised not to address (trough her curatorial work) Limone answered that “You can say anything but who is listening”. A taboo she addresses was that there is not enough diversity in museum staff, which underlines the impact colonial history has on present day.
I’m in serious trouble in navigating these discussions. I can seem to find proper terms to initiate discussions. I fear that museums cannot change: They reproduce the past indefinitely.
When the Harlem Renaissance Went to Communist Moscow (2017) Jennifer Wilson.
My article in Finnish: Ympäristötaiteen konservoinnin jäljillä (On the trail of Environmental Art Conservation) is available online. It’s packed with strong claims concerning public art and a rare view to Land Arts. The text features:
- A detailed report of the conservation efforts of Spiral Jetty (1970)
- A summary on what nonsites are (according to Robert Smithson) and how text build landscapes
- A well grounded argument that land-art conservation efforts should be organised in séance-sessions
- An argument that temporary events (performances, campaigns) can be used as monuments which serve neoliberal economics
- An argument that The Tree Mountain 1996 by Agnes Denes does not help to protect nature (I don’t think it’s even intended to)
- An argument that site-specific, land- environmental- and street art, seek to expand the dominance of institutional art thinking
- An view (between the lines) that artists should consider what kind of infrastructure their artworks are depended on (more then the art they make)
Finally completed a lengthy article about my experience of working as Environmental- / Land Art Conservator for the Strata project in Pinsiö 2013. I worked in a team tasked to restore Up and Under (1998) by Nancy Holt and The Tree Mountain by Agnes Denes (1996). A big part of that text is an analysis of the controversy caused by Spiral Jetty conservation efforts. The text is currently being reviewed by Mustekala.org and if it passes I might translate parts of it into English too. I should craft it into a zine too…
I contacted Dia foundation in New York and offered to prepare a presentation about the the work we did for the environmental artworks commissioned by Strata. They haven’t replied yet. Attempted to open a dialogue with contemporary art conservators at Kiasma too but they haven’t replied either. They must get a lot of contact requests from Environmental- / Land Art Conservator’s around the world.
Finnish Cultural Institute in New York is trying to arrange a meeting with the NYPD mounted police unit for me. We drafted a long letter together and I hope it’ll open a dialogue with them. I’ll start the visa application process tomorrow.
Degeneracy | ContraPoints (2017) a fun video summing queerness vs. fascism with a clever quote: “The queer quest is to survive. The fascist quest is to be the only surviver”. Video by a self proclaimed a PhD drop out.
Ecovention Europe: Art to Transform Ecologies, 1957-2017 (part 2). Yet another celebration of The Tree Mountain (1992-6) by Agnes Denes without paying attention to the fact that the work doesn’t do what it promised (which is a part of it’s charm). Also.. I’ve shot the snowy hill photo used in the article!
Saw [Hullu] by Blick Théâtre in Savoy-theatre last night (by invitation of Matthieu Siefridt). A tad of magic, dash of dance and some inspirational physical theatre jests. The puppeteering was very resourceful. The show used some simple visual elements (like a wall of cardboard boxes illuminated from different angles so that it looked like a video-mapping projection) which alone were reason to see it.
Ben Valentine asks How Can Ecological Artists Move Beyond Aesthetic Gestures? The text celebrates Agnes Denes as an example of responsible artist.. I should translate my texts on land art conversation in English. Denes’s work in Pinsiö is far from a sustainable artwork. The planting of trees using a strict mathematical pattern has forced the plants to compete for resources. Majority of the trees on the southern bank of the mountain have dried out etc. The work is in conflict with nature (which is why it is interesting).