Sep 14, 2012

The TC Trilogy. (Part 1)

Part 1, An interview with myself 

and which was only partially with myself.
(Part Two is not an interview.)

Would you consider your writing “ahead” of anything else you do?
No... By ahead I assume you mean at the forefront, and not better correct? I don’t really think of it as ahead.
It is the most public thing I do, which could make it seem ahead.  It's the only public thing I do, and I like it for that, for its immediacy. That I have some control over the means of production and access and “exhibition of” it.  But I think a lot people think I’m “becoming a writer” or have this as an unformed but forming idea in their heads.

I guess I’m trying to get at a “why writing” kind of question which I feel embarrassed to in a way, like why anything is sort of annoying question. Maybe if I put it...What is the driving the writing, what steers?  
It’s immediacy.  I don’t have to ask permission or “get” a show.  There was a post early on about writing’s no wishy washies, straight to the cutting.  It allows me to participate. That my art making was becoming responsive, because I felt so oppressed by so much of what I was seeing, and the sheer amount of art you can see now in one sitting. I needed an outlet for what I was internalizing.  

I mean, You realize there is no way Forest Nash likes everything he puts on CAD, he’s simply forced into a wearisome rate of production by the nature of internet blogs.  CAD really is more about the network than the art itself.  Whether or not these exhibitions are “good,” they matter simply by interacting with these certain entities, because these are the brokers of art and art history. That this makes them matter.  This is the relational network, little can exist outside of it. I’m getting off topic, but see these are the things I was feeling and needing to get out in writing.
This artist Katelyn Farstad uses this phrase that I think is so good, “seminally up to date.”  That art has reached a state where being up to date is a criteria.   I think a lot of people feel art world shift where being on the inside is more than important.  you don’t want to be caught reading “painting beside itself” in 2011, or not knowing who J.J Goux is.   That an artist could become so up to date as to become seminal.  It's a very funny thought.  
and so there is a pressure to act quick.  which is not really the most moral pressure, possibly the opposite.  But the system we work in doesn’t really allow for anything else.
But I mean here is a case in point, I can now interview myself.  I don’t have to wait around for a gallery or a curator or whatever to line it up for me.  I just do it.  You just grab it and take it.

Ha. yes like Tom Cruise in Far and Away.
I haven’t seen that movie.

but is this Because you couldn’t do that while being an artist?  couldn’t you have interviewed yourself anyways?
but why would anyone have cared?  I wasn’t showing my art, so there was nothing to talk about.  Would I just hand it out to people? And who am I? no one.  I had no access.  only production begets interest.
 it would have been simply complaining about the lack of shows that everyone experiences.  Complaining doesn’t solve anything, and even being able to describe the problem sometimes isn’t all that helpful when pretty much everyone knows it and experiences it.  It would have been narcissistic to think my problems were somehow unique.   Bruce’s words had force because of the huge amounts of asphalt he has burned getting here.  this is the system we live in, producing production is somehow the driving force of everything.    

but as an artist you’re always waiting around for someone.  You need someone to come to you, or else you have to do the whole thing of going to other people, with like slides in hand or whatever.  as an artist you always need someone else.  and this totally freaked me out.  I got into art to be left alone, and art really is a lot more social than they make it out be when you’re forming an idea of what you want to do..

And so you have a solution to the problem?
No, Definitely no solutions.  This is still narcissistic.  People were asking me about “why writing?” so I used that as an excuse for a false interview, as a vehicle.  You answer the question but can tack a bunch of other crap on too, cause you feel your ideas are important.  
I took a step to the left..  I just used a means of production that didn’t have to involve anyone.  I didn’t have to interact with any privation. This is myspace. The gallery system is this weird system that is legitimizing because of its privation.  All other fields, music, books, even now TV and movies, have distribution systems that are open.   It's one of the very last remaining cultural fields that is still land-ownership based.   the last bastions of privatization and legitimation and massive amounts of symbolic leverage, because they still involve actual private land because you need physical space. It's so funny.  All our problems are because our objects exist!  Well I’ll happily make something that doesn’t exist.

But I do not want the internet to truly reign in art, because I still like seeing shows in person.  as of right now what i see for the people who reign in the net art realm it's not so hot, and are getting stronger. Artforum, arguably already obsolete, is being replaced by CAD, which is very very weird, particularly when they, CAD, acknowledge a distaste for anything not from the artist, for criticism. Imagine if we took Joseph Beuys at his word.  It's simply the naming that counts, you can only affirm, the +1, the like, any press is ....  . Anyway, I have no attachment to my personal objects, but I have a deep attachment to other’s. The real objects. Privation sucks for those in the dominated positions trying to ascend the ladder because they have zero power, but whatever.

It's a funny trope of Minneapolis, that when artists take over the means of production by opening galleries, or curating or whatever they almost always have an open call for submissions.  They’ve been on the other side for so long that they want democracy finally! they know how it feels, and so they abdicate their power by passing on the responsibility to everyone else.  They finally have power and they give it up! how kind of them!  But paradoxically what ends up happening no one really wants to make an effort to apply.  Look at that back page of Wopozi (Yellow issue).  These people make a vehicle for distribution for everyone else, totally generously, and everyone hems and haws and goes I don’t know.... It's so funny.  Why would that be?
but anyway I just decided to interact with a system where distribution was open.  and a lot of people are always saying there is no art writing in the TC and I thought, “well fuck I can do that,” and I can make it interesting to myself as well.  I mean I’m basically teaching myself how to write while I write, so that makes it interesting, learning something.  I mean there is no hope of making money from it, no hope of establishing some career, but there was never hope of making money in the TC to begin with so it works out.  

And you’re okay with that? You’ve accepted that?
No career? Well the deal is that realizing that I am young, am dumb, and that I still have time to screw everything up and still have time to put it back together, and that no one is paying attention, and the fact that there is no hope of assembling a career,  you realize that this is really freeing. I mean that is what I wanted getting into art. You can do whatever you want. You see this with artists here, but mostly it just involves a reinvention of themselves every 4 years or so.  switching to sculpture or whatever.  And because no ones got anything invested you can do this if you feel like it. I mean in 4 years no one is even going to remember what you made 4 years ago, and nowhere in the city keeps any kind of record, no one has a reason to.
But basically for a long time i was interested in objects that could get beyond themselves and interact with the world, or things that could escape themselves. I couldn’t articulate this now, but for a long time I was totally infatuated with this idea, whatever it meant.

I’ve always been totally impressed with artists like Andrea Fraser and Mark Leckey and Joe Scanlan and David Robbins. People who were interested in economies or means outside of art or within art, even though none of them really escape it.  But you can engage with it in an oblique way.  I saw Mark Leckey talk while living in L.A. that was just absolutely formative for me.  It did something totally real and strange and I wasn’t even expecting it because it started off so normal and earnest and got beyond itself. It escaped itself somehow, if only maybe by being in the context of an artist talk, but not doing any of the usual tricks of “playing” with the format, there was no cool-self-reflexive-structuralism, it was just a vehicle. It was using the format of an art trope, without feeling the need to comment on that trope at all, which could almost feel revolutionary in the context of a lot of art, and especially art that steps outside itself.  and I totally fell in love with him.  

Or even something like Adam Caillier and Michael Mott’s haunted and erotic house photographs. The idea of photography reflecting back onto the world, to break the 1 to 1, and have it actually be 1 to 1 back to 1.  All these artists had been trying to break photography for so long and here it was, in a heap on the floor in pieces, a photography not limited to what it captured, it made the world.  Photography has always done it, because it makes a “truth” about the world, but now it was explicit. and its sad because I think that show was really good and there was no one to hold it up.

And so is writing your way of holding things up? at least the end that you are able to?
Not at all.  I write a blog, which I am totally righteously aware as being below primordial in the evolutionary tree of writing.  I have zero symbolic -power with which to share.  I have a readership of about 4 max. I mean this maybe the reason none of the writing tries to announce anything as good or be supportive in anyway, because I don’t have the ability to support anything and to act as if I did would be pretending, and no one needs any more pretending. So much TC art writing pretends its voice matters. I mean if I was writing something public, something that had any weight, I would take a different approach.  Right now It simply tries to be descriptive, and it always tries to take the hardest path as a means of getting better or something, like practice. If you like the show, try and articulate the opposite,. confuse it or something, make it hard on yourself, work through the pain, bear the weight. Again this whole thing is practice.  It's like writing really formal letters to your friends.  I mean I would guess it's very hard to tell which shows I like and didn’t like just from reading this.  
but it's different maybe for the artists who have been brought here, and this is all maybe subconscious, the ones who interact with the historical art world, and it's also totally about this 1 to 1 thing.  I was tired of receiving the endless wisdom of the world and I wanted to tell it to go get bent.  I wanted to be able to make the world a little bit too, to shoot imaginary rockets from afar.  I get to step outside for a moment and reflect back on the world.  I don’t know if David Catherall’s exhibition is really about torture, and latent horror and suffocation, but I like that if I see that, and I do, I can make an argument for it and I can make it sort of true, even if for a few people.  I mean I liked that show. I think we all did.