Didactic description of a few works
“The Following Piece”
In the summer of 2011 I proposed a speculative project on an online fundraising platform called ‘Kickstarter.’ This project was a one day performance in which a private investigator would follow Vito Acconci around the streets of New York City and carefully record his activities. This format was based on one of Acconci’s performances from the late 1960’s called “Following Piece” in which he followed around anonymous passers-by on the same streets in which I planned to follow him. The funders, in exchange for contributing monetarily to the realization of the work, would receive a portfolio which included a copy of the Private Investigator’s report. They amount they contributed directly correlated to the amount of information they would receive, for $10 they would receive a photograph, for $25 they would receive the full report. Within two weeks the amount required was raised and a week a later the private investigator, Irwin Blye, was hired and the work was realized. Acconci was surveyed from approximately 8 am until 8pm, none of his personal details were released to the co-conspirators. However, as many actions of Acconci as possible were meticulously recorded and included in the distributed report. One can still receive a report by mail for the cost of $25 plus shipping and handling.
“Ecstasy of Absence”
This work took place in a vacant storefront on the west side of Amsterdam. It was a one night ‘performance’ in which a disco light played in the window of an empty storefront from dusk until dawn. Although the location was specific for this particular performance, this work can be repeated in other vacant storefronts and with other types of disco lights, however, the duration of the work (from dusk until dawn) must stay constant in each presentation.
“Interzones” is a three part work revolving around a trip I took to Tangier, Morocco in February 2012. Three works developed out of this experience, which were loosely related to and influenced by Tangier’s period as an International zone, William S. Burroughs time in Tangier, and the Cut-up method that Burroughs and Bryon Gysin developed shortly thereafter. One of the works in this series is a video in which I recorded 23 seconds of video for every 77 minutes while I was in Tangier, and awake. The video is presented, either projected or on a monitor, as a series of numbered fragments that are generated at random continuously. The second element of the project is an interview I conducted with a translator named Zakaria Aleilech (Zak was a friend and a guide during my time in Tangier). We conducted the interview on one of my last days in the city on a friend's balcony. In the interview we discuss the mythology and legacy of the international zone, the state of Tangier today and more general subjects such as what it means to live together and live apart. The third element of this project is a magazine advertisement for Winston cigarettes. I found this advertisement as well as several other american cigarette advertisements from the late 1970’s in a market in Tangier called La Casa Barata or the The Cheap House. For my presentation of the project at the first year exhibition Upominki all three parts were presented in different spaces: the video was screened in the hallway between the two galleries, the conversation was printed and placed in a chair in the back gallery and the cigarette advertisement was reprinted at a much larger size, cut into 3 centimeter strips and placed in the doorway of a bar called M’n Schoonmoeder’s located across the street from the exhibition space.
“Contact” is a work that was produced for an exhibition space in Torino, Italy called GUM. I decided for this exhibition to work with the drop ceiling of the space. I placed jars of honey upside down above the panels of the drop ceiling and punctured small holes in the ceiling itself so over the course of the opening honey would slowly drip from an invisible source above the ceiling onto the floor below.
“+-” was a one day, one man performance within and around the Tempio Voltiano - a museum dedicated to the legacy of the inventor of the battery, Alessandro Volta. The work was part of a series of public actions in Como, Italy by students in the Fondazionne Antonio Ratti’s Advanced Course for Visual Arts. The performance began when the museum opened at 10am and ended when it closed at 6pm. At 10am I bought a ticket and entered the museum like any other visitor to the museum. As other visitors left the museum I would approach them and ask of they had ever heard of the Baghdad Battery. If they hadn’t (most hadn’t) I would tell them about this 2,000 year old enigmatic object which is speculated to be an ancient battery. If their interest continued I would go on to talk with them about the use of this battery, which has been likened to the status of a ritual object. Then I would ask them what they thought about this history and alternate use in relation to Volta’s battery and perhaps in relation to the idea of invention, in general. It was important for me in this performance to not take on an official or institutional title, but to be another visitor with a certain type of information (a rumor perhaps) that complicated the information espoused by the museum. Overall, some visitors were quite skeptical, some were uninterested, and some were very engaged by the proposition and conversation.
“Dream Disc” is a video/slideshow displaying a sequence of various photographs of flamingos from around the world. Some of the flamingos are in nature and some are in zoos or even in peoples back yards. The soundtrack of the video is taken from a homemade YouTube video of a scuba diving trip, it is mostly made up of someone inhaling and exhaling underwater through an oxygen mask. Once in a while a black geometric image pops up over of the pictures of the flamingos. Sometimes it is overlaid on top of the entire picture and sometimes just a small section of it. The way in which this artwork can function is two-fold, it has a double life of sorts. It is firstly a video which can be viewed as such, but it also has a second life as a sort of sculptural tool for dreaming. Namely it is something that one would watch before going to sleep and use to influence their dream. In this way, part of the experience of the artwork can occur only in the viewer’s dream state.