Objects & Actions
What We Think in America is Not Always Clear
Online exhibition and essay in the form of advertisements for Kadist Art Foundation’s Addendum project, which replaces web ads with artist commissions. Taking text from Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails, Walter Benjamin's "The Critic's Technique in 13 Theses," posts from survivalist political forums, affadavits from the Ammon Bundy trial and more, in the ads and accompanying essay we consider the language of national identity as a series of secessions and fragments, asking "who takes control of the memory we call America, this misreading we call the present?"
Download the ad extension and read the accompanying essay at http://addendum.kadist.org/
Prefigurative Institutions: A Symposium
Prefigurative Institutions was a performative symposium on institutional form and futures in an age of social crisis, organized by US English at Louise Dany (Oslo) in Feburary, 2017. Modeled from Plato's Symposium in which a group of philosophers gathered over a meal to present opposing arguments towards a reconsideration of love, this symposium likewise gathered participants over a meal to present the artist-centered institution as a site of care, contention, and collectivity able to prefigure an altered world. Situated within the domestic gallery space and reflective storefront of Louise Dany (Oslo), the symposium works outward from the home to mirror a new future, stretching out from the dinner table into the street. Featuring intertextual readings, sounds, and objects from a collective of voices, the symposium presents itself and those gathered as a prefigurative institution.
Each participant is invited to present an extemporaneous lecture on the theme.
The symposium featured tableware created by artist Kahlil Irving; texts by Amiri Baraka, Fred Moten, and Katarina Bonnevier; and recordings from Joe McPhee, Human Arts Ensemble and Gil Scott-Heron, among others. Additional participants included Ina Hagen, Kosugi Daisuke, Sarrita Hunn, Sille Storihle, Ragnhild Aamås, Mike Sperlinge, Steffen Håndlykken, Piya Wanthiang, Stian Gabrielsen, Johnny Herber, Haakon Bratlie Sheffield, and Elise Mac.
To Move Into Position
Performative lecture at Institute for New Connotative Action (INCA) with accompanying artist-designed fragrances in the form of incense based on the botanical components of tear gas and pepper spray as well as organic elements found on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, MO in the summer and fall of 2014. The performance was amended with a script inserting elements from the utopian blissymbolics language and other hand-drawn glyphs overlaying the images.
We, Object: a quarrel in ragtime at Vox Populi
What is an institution as an exhibition: a survey of objects, props and acts? As an institution that proposes art’s social relevance to the pressing issues of our time, when time comes to us, we wonder – what is an art of its time? What is a voice of the people? Which people and where? The institution must become a time, or contain a quarrel within time, a staccato rhythm in history with legacies and futures we don’t yet understand.
We, Object: a quarrel in ragtime was an exhibition we curated along with an accompanying artist-designed fragrance for Alternative Currencies at Vox Populi, Philadelphia and Moore College of Art & Design.
Monsanto House of the Future
Performance, video, and original score commissioned for the Marfa Dialogues at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Ballroom Marfa. The piece was performed live by Rats and People Orchestra and US English with an accompanying newsprint publication distributed in mylar seed bags.
"[Strike] Work is not just extreme overproduction. The worker's satisfaction derives from a belief in him- or herself as the subject in the project of building a new society, defining goals and procedures and sharing the means of production." Keti Chukhrok, Towards the Space of the General
Strike Work for the MDW Fair is a self-reflective meditation on the space of artistic production and exchange. Politics must be addressed with the language of poetry. What are the poetics of labor? The performance of work? What are the contours of creation and exchange? Already there are contradictions before we begin to speak.
The language of labor and economics has been swallowed into the art world. Artists’ documented position as exploited laborers in a Post-Fordist event economy is well known, but not yet overcome. The push-pull of sustainability and success stands against that of agency and freedom, one word continually exchanged for another, a substitution that never returns a sound sentence, a coherent thought. What agency does the artist have to control the space of exchange? What is at stake is not just the contours of commerce and competition but the first words in a form of world-building. We must define the goals, establish controls. We wish to speak, substitute old words for new; we wish to work, exchange labor for progress. We are what we agree to. We do not agree. We are a class of objects. We object. We do not strike work, we exceed it.
Power Object for Transformer at the (e)merge art fair in Washington, DC was a self-reflective meditation on the space of artistic production and exchange, positing the value of overlabor in the face of a fragile and changing terrain. Composed of a durational performance over the full length of the fair, a series of feather and white marble sculptures and a video installation entitled To Reform a Mountain, Power Object placed artistic time, labor and sacrifice as a site of potential transformation.
A cage in search of a bird
There are many forms of religious authority in the state, but the highest and supreme authority is that of official augury (prediction based on the flight pattern of birds). For what power, legally considered, is greater than the ability to dissolve assemblies and councils appointed by the highest authorities in possession of their full powers, or to rescind the decisions of those bodies? What authority carries more weight than the augur’s power to dismiss any undertaking, simply by saying “Postponed to another day”?
Trained homing pigeons with handwritten prompts, scripts and instructions were released throughout the city for the exhibition, The Game of a Free City. A small steel cage was sited within a playground where they were trained to return each evening. They didn’t return.
You cannot wait for a tool without blood on it
Chrome-plated ceremonial shovels with engraving in handwritten script.