Lars Brekke (Norway)
[ ED my initial thoughts: I like reading this it has a slightly psychedelic/maxi-metaphysical feel to which is enjoyable. The main function of this text seems to be introducing the concept of wø. I have to admit I'm not too sure what wø is, I think that is kind of the point that wø is many things, but after 2 read-throughs I would like the text to be either more dizzying OR a little clearer in how you see wø as a tool to discuss you work/interest in art making. I can explain this later, prob better discussed than written] I have always been horribly scared by the thought of the sun going out. Knowing that this is unavoidable has [JF] kept me from sleeping many nights throughout adolescence and no-one has [JF] ever been able to comfort me when it comes to this (maybe with a brief exception of some science-fiction suggesting future emigration to other solar systems, but after some contemplation I realized that this would just be a temporary comfort anyhow until the other solar systems in turn will expire before the entire universe will go down the drain) So rather than attempting to escape this fear by hoping for some Noah’s-arc[JF] in space I have tried to use this fear in a way I've learned from “Batman Begins” where Bruce Wayne as a child gets traumatized by an episode where he is trapped in a cave full of bats. Later his parents are[jf] brutally murdered for little reason and the young Bruce drifts around rootless for many years until he meats Henri Ducard who teaches him that his greatest fear shall become his greatest strength. “You must become your greatest fear!” So he became Batman. I became The-End-Of-Our-Solar-System-Man, or tried to at least.
And dear reader! I know how dead boring it can be to read something that doesn't feel like being directly or poetic/metaphoric/indirectly about you... [ED Im not sure you can make an assumption on behalf of a reader?? ] And it seems very hard to safeguard against this problem in this format while trying to meet the purpose of this text. Let us try to use language that blurs the distinction between you and me (and he, she, it, they, us and so on) As if we all were one thing, which we technically/arguably are anyway...
I will for the time being and until we get tired of it replace all forms of all personal pronomes (?) with the word wø. This would ideally also help wø avoid a range of inter-human intricacies, or at least blur or obscure them. [Not sure I understand this bit Lars, maybe it just needs explaining twice, second time as example or something? jf]'Bold text'
[ED just a thought - the first paragraph is very personal about you, the second then states how boring it is if text doesn't relate or communicate directly with the reader and in the 3rd paragraph you call to abandon the 1st/2nd/3rd person - does the first para remain valid then???]
From here on wø need to write 6548 more words to inform you about wø practice. It is very hard for wø to combine the level of abstraction and room for doubt (hereunder also the room for doubt around the debt of wø intentions) that wø utilize in wø production with this form of presentation (art school thesis). Wø will therefore urge wø to not think very much about this text on later occasions.
Wø are being interviewed: [ED, by using "are" you imply Wø is plural which contradicts end of paragraph 2 where you state Wø is not he, she, us etc, maybe just "Wø, interviewed: ... ]
Wø are interested in imaginable outsides of culture and of the language that defines it. Wø are interested in the frictions that can occur when human behavior is relativized. Wø hope to realize works that both relate to the sublime in culture and imaginable options of resisting and escaping it on a fundamental level. Wø want to curl [curl? curtail? jf] the understanding of social utopia and the hope of an autonomous subject.
Ok [are these ok's like definative ok's? not sure i get the tone...jf]
Wø are interested in the transactions that occur between us and our arguably neutral and indifferent surroundings, what happens to wø indifferent surroundings under wø gaze. The asymmetry between closed and self-explanatory and self-confirming realms and the universe at large as a neutral, indifferent and physically measurable phenomenon. For instance how nature is what it is by itself, everything basically, but becomes something else under the gaze of culture. In wø work wø try to maintain some of this dual existence, to make a presence that appears as unaffected by the gaze of the viewer while at the same time also subjected to and shaped by it.
And when two things are happening at once wø can maybe say that they are relativizing each other. The world shaped by wø gaze seems less absolute and more temporary and fragile when juxtaposed to the physical realities of the 11-dimentional universe predicted by quantum physics, as an example. Subjected to the overwhelming indifference of nature the efforts of mankind seems just a fragile dream, so let wø dream this dream while also remembering that it is just a dream that will not last, like when wø wake up in the morning but go back to sleeping and dreaming instead of going to a group critique, as an example, but in the dream wø are vaguely aware of that there is a group critique taking place somewhere outside the dream. I think Goethe said something like «dreams, at the bottom of them we perceive the merciless onslaught of reality»
Can wø enjoy being subjected to the overwhelming volume of the universe? If the universe was an enormous dead Frankenstein-monster lying on top of wø body would wø wake it up to be small and insignificant under a living monster rather than a dead one? [not sure i understand this bit, whose body is the insignificant one? jf]
Yes. Wø are tired now, can wø have a break?
....... Interview continues
Recently I’ve been interested in transparent illusions, like claiming something that it is obviously not. Steinar Haga Kristensen made a lump of clay called "Democracy". In the dictionary this could be called ”pretentiousness”. When you assume or apply greater importance on something than what it is seen as actually possessing. You can find yourself presenting something that has obvious literal quality as action or object as well as an applied or imposed layer meaning beyond the obvious, beyond what one can expect the viewers to access by themself. There is more "important" stuff than the questions naturally produced by the object or action, and I often find that contemporary art viewers are more eager to respond to the literal qualities of the actions and objects presented while more resistant to the imposed layer of assumed greater importance. This is when one can talk of pretentiousness in the most common use of the word, when there is no option, ability or will for the suspension of disbelief, when you fail to bring the viewer into a negotiation between the literal level and the level of pretense.
I find it interesting to compare Star Trek and it's porn parody counterparts, I think it relates to the above mentioned and I wonder if we could learn something from it. Star Trek does to some degree rely on you subscribing to an illusion about the actors being characters on a starship in a future scenario where humanity is in the process of evolving beyond greed and envy, and the characters demonstrate no direct awareness of the viewers reality. Not everybody are able or willing to subscribe to this illusion, and when you don’t the entire thing will fall flat and become boring, childish, nerdy and maybe pretentious. Wherein a porn parody like Sex Trek the actors clearly demonstrate awareness of the contemporary gaze and intelligence of the viewer. As an illusion with self-awareness as an illusion, it also becomes accessible as non-illusion and non-fiction. The social utopia that the original is concerned with is only hinted towards as a caricature, and the audience is mainly invited to engage with the physical reality of porn, which seams real in another way than the understated sci-fi performance. The layer of fiction and non-fiction seems to benefit from each other and the gaze and intelligence of the viewer is honored more directly than in pure fiction. However, the miss-proportion between these two layers opens for a humorous approach and the aspirations of the original Star Trek only remains as a caricature. I am not sure what conclusion to draw here. Sex Trek is better than no Trek after all.
I want and need to be pretentious as I want to also work with things beyond what is intuitively available, perspectives beyond what I can expect objects and actions to produce from how their literal and physical qualities appear to us. And it seems hard to do this while also crediting the gaze and intelligence of the viewer. It can feel like our agency for using pretentious forms of presentations is limited to parodying like the above mentioned, unlike say a cosmologist or priest. I could be wrong here of course.
Travel to Cologne with school. Lying in sleeping bag under a table as performance. Eating chocolate. Greeting viewers. Normal passivity is turned into activity by the gaze of the viewer, kind of.
Friends are offered a free booth in art-fair. They accept and inform me that they intend to sell their gallery there. I am invited to contribute a piece to be presented in the Gallery as it is being sold. The show will consist only of instructional pieces where my friends will realize examples or variations of the instructions. I gladly accept, I am exhited about having my dear friends act on my instructions.
Making a show in Oslo, Shape Attempting Escape 1. An interactive display where real-time footage of the viewer’s reflection in a brass object is merged with a video of a transvestite attempting to elicit a reaction by wiggling a sausage she holds between her butt-cheeks, merged with a video of a collie staring unaffected into the air. The image is photographically realistic, it all appears to take place within the same space and time-frame. 2. A display showing a vaguely defined character confronting Ronald Reagan’s speech on the Challenger disaster with non-lingual utterances. 3. A display showing a remix of a two-second excerpt from matrix-reloaded, where Neo could be seen as regretful or doubtful about which level of reality to operate on. (Presented with the title Neo tenker seg om - Neo thinking twice.) 4. Recording of a lecture-like setting where a man gives advice on tasteful behavior and on how to feel at home in the world. He is seated in front of a screen showing a video where a naked man is agitating a scenario in a public environment.
Shapes escaping the gaze of the viewer, sort of...
Helping Edmund with video by floating at Float Plaza in Rotterdam.
Floating in the Dead Sea Floating indoors in heated Dead Sea water.
Not writing thesis (really trying though)
Checking in at the SS Rotterdam, a decommissioned cruise ship which now serves as a hotel in the south of Rotterdam. Originally the ship served as a passenger liner in the fleet of the Holland-America line whom also were the original owners of the boat where I currently live. Great to be on a cruise-ship without being trapped there, and while going back and forth to school. Going to school to participate in performance program. “Hello” “I am cause” “I am effect” “We are a chain of events” “Ok” Transparent illusion, sort of. Return from art Rotterdam night at Piet Zwart, pissing on some swans outside the ship, they don't seem to mind. On the promenade deck of the ship we steal an old dolphin, apparently from the fifties, it does not mind, it is made of polyester. What a wonderful place. Outrageous actions are met with indifferent and mindless eyes on the part of the dolphin and the swans. The swans find pissing and stealing perfectly ordinary and float around unaffected by our aesthetical and moral norms. While feeding on our society they are still outside it. Swimming in urine as if it was water. The dolphin is even further away, being a lump of polyester, it only exists as a dolphin under my gaze. This environment does not mind what I do to whatever degree it has a mind at all. The architecture of the cruise ship also protects its inhabitants from minding each other. And maybe more important than how this environment does not mind what you do, it also does not mind you not doing anything at all. In the solitude of the hotel room you can turn passivity into activity all by yourself, with only God as a witness. I am trying to learn from luxury. I am making a video of myself watching balls bounce around on the hotel room giant flat-screen. Making some plans about utilizing this hotel room for my graduation project, possibly with some video-link to the main exhibition space, possibly using my own boat for shuttling people across the river. I am thinking that every day you choose not to spend isolated in a four star hotel room is a show of commitment to the commonwealth of society, but that could also be wrong. You cannot own a dolphin, like with a human, you can only enslave it. Proudhon’s statement about how “property is theft” could be seen as self-contradictory as the notion of theft relies on a notion of property, where as enslavement can be used for claiming something that cannot be owned. If money tries to leave me and I stop it from doing so I am enslaving it. Piss Utopia Steal dolphin Piss on swans Dolphin idea Ordinary ideas occur
Noah’s arch in space is maybe a nice idea after all
I learn that my friends are not planning to have electricity in their booth, in order to save money. Display of video seems improbable and live performance seems tricky in the context of an art-fair. The gallerists are at this point on the plane to New York. As any time-based occurrence seems hard to present within the context. Finding that I am left with the option of displaying some ordinary form that serves as manifestation, evidence or recording of a less ordinary event. Like Yves Klein’s body-prints for example. As Yves Klein already have done this in the probably only way it can be done in pure form, probably, I will have to also utilize text, in this case the instructions/contract
Ordinary ideas occur.
Making a video with stolen dolphin, not entirely successful. Planning to fly the dolphin to D-O-R before they fly to New York, to show some dedication at least. Falling asleep while attempting to order ticket. For the better after all probably.
Remembering my primary education at Rudolf Steiner School, were we had to write all text three times due to Steiner’s idea about that a thought should ideally travel through the hand three times, I hope that this idea could both be utilized and referred to successfully in an art fair booth. 1.0 to be filled in by the Artist: The Producer or New Producer will make three attempts at drawing a hand in natural size and shape to the best of his/her ability with a pencil, pen or marker held between the butt-cheeks of the Producer or New Producer while drawing. For the sake of chronology the first attempt will be posited to the left of the second, the second in the middle and the third to the right, relative to the viewers perspective (not the producing producer). Before each new attempt the producer will carefully examine the preceding results in order to improve his/her technique as far as possible. The three attempts should if possible and convenient be framed in a horizontal-rectangular frame measuring approximately 50x20 cm. Only the three first attempts of a particular producer can be used, as they are the results of the three first travels of this idea through the particular body and set of musculature and neurons. If an attempt is unsatisfactory, or a new variation is to be made, a New Producer will be employed.
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