I’ve been spending some time doing research for a class I’m teaching this Fall 09 at UC Berkeley: “Temporal Structures” is a new genres studio art class and It’s been an interesting challenge to drum up a whole new syllabus. In the past I’ve focussed primarily on object-based (as opposed to time or temporal-based works), and I’m trying to rise to the occasion by not just pulling from my archive of resources but find new (to me) things as well. Some potential class topics I’m brainstorming include:

  • Media Jamming as Culture Jamming
  • (Mis)Translations: Systems Reinterpretations and Cross-Media Resynthesis
  • Participatory Structures: Social Practice as Creative Catalyst
  • Public Interventions
  • Snapshot Sculptures: Temporal and Temporary Objects
  • Shareware Everywhere: Utilizing Found or Free Networks in an Ad Hoc World
  • Hacking Objects
  • Capitalism as Public Discourse: The Storefront as Creative Metaphor
  • Ongoing and Endless: invisible and Total artworks
  • Duration and Minutiae (long-length and insanely short artworks)
  • The Mashup as Cultural Critique: Reading Between the Lineages
  • In the process of thinking on these (never mind if it works for my class!) I’ve found some interesting links and spaces online. Maybe in some way most deal with issues of “temporality” or even performative action. Maybe not. But I’m linking them here because I want to revisit these in some way in the near future:

    The online Significant Objects project is a really interesting experiment in value-added objecthood: writers are paired with a tchotchke object to give it some form of fictional history and then auctioned on ebay. Whether the object sells for a lot or a little is always curious… (thanks to Rob Walker of Murketing fame)

    Oakland-based artist Joseph del Pesco is an insane fountain of ideas, and we are lucky enough to have him share them with us on an almost nonstop basis. His latest project, Anecdote Archive, celebrates the idea of how stories about art and artworks become themselves the means for documentation and distribution. I have yet to peruse all of them, but am looking forward to the project building and… uh… getting passed along by word of mouth, too.

    A quote from the “about” page:

    “The fact that works of art to a large extent are tales, points to the folkloristic aspect of the artworld. In other words, the art world is a place for transmissions: someone has seen or heard of someone who has done something. The story is told and retold. As in any other oral culture there are misunderstandings, adjunctions, displacements and falsifications. The dependence on ‘what is on every lip’ creates a situation where works that are difficult to talk about run the risk of being neglected and ‘disappearing’. Sometimes an art practice escapes omission through stories about the artist as a person. Whatever one may think of this oral circulation of art — through formal seminars, think tanks, staged conversations, informal discussions, and not least through chatting at bars and cafés — it should be recognized as a place for art distribution equally important as the exhibition space and printed matter.”

    —Magnus Bärtås from his essay Talk Talk in Geist

    Allan Kaprow’s essay “Tail Wagging Dog” is probably something that I read when I was a fresh young undergraduate at the San Francisco Art Institute back in the early 90s (ack!), but for the life of me, I don’t remember it. And reading it now is like a bit of fresh air, since how we look at “performance art” today seems to have considerably shifted from the theatrical stagings of the 80s (think Laurie Anderson) back towards a super-ephemeral or everyday-like activity. Methinks it’s because the newfound, renamed genre of “Social Practice” has come to engulf notions of performance and temporality more so than how performance work was lumped in with “new genres” and video programs in the past. Either way, I used to think Kaprow was outmoded and a romantic hippie (yes, that was my 17-year old brain at the time). But now I realize it’s come full circle and it was a fun re-read 🙂

    Rickrolling is a phenomena that I somehow missed out on during its heydey but I’m still getting a kick out of learning of it (oh, that was SO 2008, right?)… Thank you, wikipedia:

    Rickrolling is an Internet meme typically involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a web link that he or she claims is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true destination of the link without clicking. When a person clicks on the link and is led to the web page, he or she is said to have been “Rickrolled” (also spelled Rickroll’d).

    Oh, the wonders of the internet. Such joy, such terror!