Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lazy Relational Sunday

Just started reading Bourriaud's 'Relational Aesthetics' while drinking my second coffee of the day. RA seems to be the new buzz phrase around college and I need to engage again with current art theory (my recent reading has been on Sound, particularly in relation to neurology). As I've been marking theses, another term: 'overdetermined' has also been reoccurring...

My first impression is quite positive, although the translation is rather inelegant in places and Bourriaud sometimes uses that rather French rhetorical-assertive tone that you also find in Barthes, Derrida et al. so that you feel as if you're being addressed as an insider but simultaneously positioned as a fraud because, secretly, you yourself have made all those assumptions that are now being challenged.

Some of the terms defined are useful:
'Relational (art)
A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.'

others less so:
The contemporary artist is a semionaut, he (sic) invents trajectories between signs.'

-which suggests a return to the rather narrow orthodoxies of semiology and rings just a bit silly, in my view.

More interesting is the discussion of the interstice and how artists open up new spaces for transaction and discussion. The privileging of process over the art object is nothing new, but here Bourriaud identifies a political charge in this, leading one towards the possibilities of humanist intervention in a rigid, suffocating marketplace. I'm hoping, as I continue to read, that there will be an intelligent discussion of music, especially Rock, as it is my contention that theories of visual art and sonic art have been falsely kept apart for too long. The live music performance is as radical an artistic gesture as any in Bourriaud's typology.

I am only a short way into this slim book and I very much want to read on and reflect on my practice in RA's light; that has to be a compliment. Dare I risk a third coffee?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring Cleaning '09

After a fairly relaxing but poignant Easter I return to report on current developments.

Since I last blogged my painting practice has continued to flourish and grow, with my current work centering on the record and variations upon it (taking, for example, the idea of a label surrounded by a circular lake of sound). I need to confirm but I believe I am setting up a small show of work very soon, in the Scott Building in Plymouth University where I lecture. I want to use this as a spring board for a larger show this Summer, which will also include some form of bookwork. As I have been working with strawberries for some of these pieces, the tentative title of the Plymouth show is 'Fragaria - towards future variations'. As my friend Sarah commented (who teaches an MA Fine Art course) my recent work is complex, with apparently disparate strands being collided, but I feel an effective display of my work will lead the audience through the brambles to the fruit ;-)

I am still thinking how best to represent my work online and need to reflect further on how I want to structure so that I achieve a balance between old and new work. Rightly or wrongly I always feel I want to do justice to earlier material, particularly music, as the work didn't have much exposure at the time it was made and I think there are some good pieces there - things that I listen to as much as I listen to anything else. It is also coming up to the 30 year anniversary of 'Photographs of Sound' - an album recorded and released by PGRS, the first improvising band I was a member of - and so it would be appropriate to mark this with some form of interweb celebration I think...

This round of Consembles has been very productive, with a number of new participants getting involved, and the promise of sounds from many more. I am pleased in the way that this project has put me in touch with many interesting artists/musicians (and I intend to develop this further, possibly into the territory of 'Inlets' Daughter' and certainly for MAAKOF).

I am already collaborating with the delightful Carla Cryptic on a new PMusic Single and this is an exciting development for me, being able to work internationally across the web, with like-minded people.

Another encouraging sign has been the inclusion of an overview of PMusic and Consemble by Peter van Cooten in his blog 'DreamScenes'. Peter is also involved in Folio Radio - a radio show in the Netherlands and we are talking about the possibility of PMusic featuring in a half-hour slot on the programme in June or July of this year.

I still have several things I need to attend to:
'Inlets Daughter' and/or 'eTudes'
A bookwork on Parallel Music
Beatrice Harrison project
'Red' painting project
my website (as mentioned)
and more...

Spring cleaning my art while time flies by...
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