20170423

Listened to fffff.at/rip podcast. Surveillance state is upon us.

My talk for Hollo institute Utopia-seminar went reasonably well. I had some trouble framing the end of the talk.. I attempted to announce horselogical-pedagogy and engage in an open ended discussion but being surrounded by professors and emeritus professors the announcement came of as a joke. People laughed as I presented Adjunct Professor The Awaited Son. I laughed with them out of pity and tightened my fists. 

“So.. All of you are ok with horses taking your jobs?” I asked as people chuckled.

Currently in Oslo on route to Tromsø on a Trans-Horse affair. I’ll meet a horse today at 15:00 and perfom with it tomorrow at 10:00. The festival is called Vårscenefest. I’ll have a day for seeing the city before I return to continue work on Trans-Horse events for Sea Change by Otto Karvonen. In Vuosaari I’ll be handling horses with Susanna Airaksinen. I’ll have to travel to Brussels late May to meet with the Signal organization staff and the cities mounted police force. In June we’ll host a sound-art exhibition at Akustamata in Helsinki.

Visited Kontula Electronic and had a brief encounter with Martta Tuomaala. I didn’t get to talk about her “bodybuilding” project. She seemed to be stressed about the show. Also saw a children’s techno workshop.. It wasn’t as techno as expected. Kids triggered grooves from a launch pad, which kept the event noise free. Pop songs and kid’s toons were also played periodically. Children were dancing. I’ve been invited to host a children’s techno-workshop for NPTurku in the fall.

20170412

Met with Maria Oiva for an interview concerning her Digi-artist venture. She is going to blog about the discussion.

Learning about Tania Brugueras’ “Useful Art” concept from Claire Bishops’ book Artificial Hells (2012). “Useful Art” feels fitting to Trans-Horse activities (even better than “Maintenance Art”). The chapter “Conclusion” (pg. 275) is really good to read. I don’t agree with her critique of participatory art.. Art/Education/Activism is not about my relationship to the Other but about Our relationship with the world (the horse). There is more in the world then masters and slaves, there is also the world. The text is filled with useful quotes such as: “Critical pedagogy retains authority, but not authoritarianism”.

The first, and perhaps longest running, pedagogic project of the 2000s was Cátedra Arte de Conducta (2002–9): an art school conceived as a work of art by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera (b.1968). Based at her home in Havana Vieja and run with the help of two staff, it was dedicated to providing a training in political and contextual art for art students in Cuba. […] she wished to make a concrete contribution to the art scene in Cuba, partly in response to its lack of institutional facilities and exhibition infrastructure, and partly in response to ongoing state restrictions on Cuban citizens’ travel and access to information.

Strictly speaking, Arte de Conducta is best understood as a two-year course rather than as an art school proper: it was a semi-autonomous module under the auspices of the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana. Students didn’t get credits for attending it, but the institutional affiliation was necessary in order for Bruguera to secure visas for visiting lecturers.

The school, like many of the student projects it produced, can be described as a variation on what Bruguera has designated as ‘useful art’ (arte util) – in other words, art that is both symbolic and useful, refuting the traditional Western assumption that art is useless or without function. This concept allows us to view Arte de Conducta as inscribed within an ongoing practice that straddles the domains of art and social utility.

Freire maintains that hierarchy can never be entirely erased: ‘Dialogue does not exist in a political vacuum. It is not a “free space” where you say what you want. Dialogue takes place inside some programme and content. These conditioning factors create tension in achieving goals that we set for dialogic education.’ In other words, critical pedagogy retains authority, but not authoritarianism: ‘Dialogue means a permanent tension between authority and liberty. But, in this tension, authority continues to be because it has authority vis- à-vis permitting student freedoms which emerge, which grow and mature precisely because authority and freedom learn self-discipline.’

[…] a single artist (teacher) allows the viewer (student) freedom within a newly self-disciplined form of authority.

Pedagogic art projects therefore foreground and crystallise one of the most central problems of all artistic practice in the social field: they require us to examine our assumptions about both fields of operation, and to ponder the productive overlaps and incompatibilities that might arise from their experimental conjunction, with the consequence of perpetually reinventing both.

[Rancière] argues that in art, theatre and education alike, there needs to be a mediating object that stands between the idea of the artist and the feeling and interpretation of the spectator: ‘This spectacle is a third term, to which the other two can refer, but which prevents any kind of “equal” or “undis- torted” transmission. It is a mediation between them, and that mediation of a third term is crucial in the process of intellectual emancipation. […] The same thing that links them must also separate them.’ In different ways, these philosophers offer alternative frameworks for thinking the artistic and the social simultaneously; for both, art and the social are not to be reconciled, but sustained in continual tension.

We need to recognise art as a form of experimental activity overlapping with the world, whose negativity may lend support towards a political project (without bearing the sole responsibility for devising and implementing it), and – more radically – we need to support the progressive transformation of existing institutions through the transversal encroachment of ideas whose boldness is related to (and at times greater than) that of artistic imagination.

Send a job application to the National Gallery (in Finnish). In short I propose Kettlebell training sessions next to the collections of national art:

“Haluan ohjata Ateneumin suomalaisen taiteen kokoelmanäyttelyn yhteydessä kahvakuulajumppaa. Tämä ei ole vitsi. Harjoittelun myötä opitaan liikkeiden perusteita (turkkilainen maastanousu, yhden käden tempaisu) ja saadaan fyysisen toiminnan kautta ainutlaatuinen ote taiteeseen. Intensiivisen jumpan ohessa katsomme valikoituja teoksia, keskustelemme niistä ja kuulemme teoksiin liittyviä puheenvuoroja. Olen tehnyt kahvakuulan kanssa taide-esityksiä vuodenpäivät ja käyttänyt sitä myös taideopetuksen työkaluna (Maa-taidekoulu 2016, Kankaanpään taidekoulu 2017). Intesiivinen fyysinen harjoittelu avaa taidetta eri tavalla kuin passiivinen käyskentely. Minulla on alustavia suunnitelmia kuinka työskentely kannattaa toteuttaa. Toimintaa olisi johdonmukaista käynnistää esimerkiksi työn-teemoihin liittyvien näyttelyiden yhteydessä. Toimintaan on myös referenssejä maailmalta (mm. Metropolitan Museum of Art on järjestänyt liikunnallisia taide-esittelykierroksia). Tässä ehdotuksessa on kuitenkin kyse syvällisemmästä yrityksestä hahmottaa taideteoksia, kehoa ja museota.”

20170411

Benjamin Buchloh slaps Joseph Beuys on the face in Twilight of the Idol (1980). He points out that:

[…] German fascism and the war resulting from it, destroying and annihilating cultural memory and continuity for almost two decades and causing a rupture in history that left mental blocks and blanks and severe psychic scars on everybody living on this period and the generations following it. Beuys’ individual myth is an attempt to come to terms with those blocks and scars. When he quotes the Tartars as saying ‘Du nix njemcky (You are not German).’ they would say ‘du Tartar, and try to persuade me to join their clan…’ it is fairly evident that the myth is trying to deny his participation in the German war and his citizenship.

In the work and public myth of Beuys the new German spirit of the postwar period finds its new identity by pardoning and reconciling itself prematurely with its own reminiscences of a responsibility for one of the most cruel and devastating forms of collective political madness that history has known.

[…] his compulsive interest in accumulating and combining quantities of rejected, dusty old objects the kind that one finds in rural cellars and stables, are imbued with metaphysical meaning by the artist and his eager exegetes: they could just as easily be read in psychoanalytic terms, and perhaps more convincingly so.

His work does not initiate cognitive changes, but reaffirms a conservative position of literary belief systems.

I think that the extensive rituals of guild German artist and politicians express over WWII is actually a way to advance Catholic beliefs, world views and control. When Merkel gave the German flag away she managed to both express nationalistic values and to conceal nationalistic ambitions responsible for Germany’s economic growth. German guild is tactical – They get emotional before their practice can be criticized. It’s a way of hiding the facts. This same critique was present in Frimer’s Documenta’s Reinvention text mentioned earlier in relation to poststructuralist art. Perhaps postructuralism became popularized as a method to hide the political causalities of the expansion of capitalism.

A fantastic library of Finnish Zine publications: Oranssin pienlehtiarkisto 1977-1982.

Claire Bishop on The Social Turn Collaboration and its Discontents (2006):

The discursive criteria of socially engaged art are, at present, drawn from a tacit analogy between anticapitalism and the Christian ‘good soul’. In this schema, self-sacrifice is triumphant: The artist should renounce authorial presence in favor of allowing participants to speak through him or her. This self-sacrifice is accompanied by the idea that art should extract itself from the ‘useless’ domain of aesthetic and be fused with social praxis. As the French philosopher Jacques Rencière has observed, this denigration of the aesthetic ignores the fact that the system of art as we understand it in the West–the ‘aesthetic regime of art’ inaugurated by Friedrich Schiller and the Romantics and still operative on this day–is predicated precisely on the confusion between art’s autonomy (its position at one remove from instrumental rationality) and heteronomy (its blurring of art and life). Untangling this knot–or ignoring it by seeking more concrete ends for art–is slightly to miss the point, since the aesthetic is, according to Rencière, the ability to think contradiction: the productive contradictions of art’s relationship to social change characterized precisely by the tension between faith in art’s autonomy and belief in art as inextricably bound to the promise of a better world to come. For Rencièrethe aesthetic doesn’t need to be sacrificed at the altar of social change, as it already inherently contains this ameliorative promise.

20170410

“Art as a de-alienating human endeavour”. Preparing for Hollo-seminars with Claire Bishop’s Participation and Spectacle: Where Are We Now?. She says that artists in countries behind the Iron-Curtain masqueraded their socially engaged art processes as formal social events (such as weddings) to avoid censorship. The Record Singers group also worked in this way.. Perhaps not against censorship but as an effort to claim normatives space to execute their non-normative actions at. She also warns us that (unpaid) audience participation is a result of audiences being subordinated to the artists will (participation can be an extension of capitalism).