Malcolm started by giving us an insightful retrospective of his performance art work. He then went on to focus on one particular performance – Ekstatis. We were all enthralled in his narrative about his work and his musings about art and the process of creativity. So much so that time slid by and we broke late for a quick lunch.
Afterwards we we participated in a very interesting and incredibly useful assignment where we acted as each other’s curators and made up an artist statement for the other in the first person. Cat wrote my statement and I found her turn of phrase and summary of my work insightful and informative. I was Jackie’s curator and really enjoyed the process of probing into her thought process to a deeper level than during the group crits.
Malcolm then gave us brief studio crits of his own. We had an enthusiastic chat about perception and awareness/knowledge. We also talked about the notion of perception and what we see (which is process driven) and what we perceive (which is neuro driven) are 2 different things. For example, the indigenous people of northern America did not ‘see’ the armada approaching because they had no knowledge of such a thing and therefore could not ‘conceive’ of it, so could not process the information.
He advised that I read Oliver Sacks, particularly ‘The Mind’s Eye’. I talked briefly about my musings about bringing a more social and political element to my work and he interestingly said that this would be secondary to my main concern. In a way this has allowed me to give myself permission to brooch this subject without it ‘taking over’ my current concerns.
I found Malcolm’s approach both engaging and open and incredibly generous. I found his teaching style encouraging and inspiring.
Inspirational quotes and advise by Malcolm McClay
Don’t allow the ‘how’ to influence ‘ to influence the ‘what’ – let the idea fully develop and dictate the material/media – not the other way round
A thin place – A place where the view between the temporal and the ephemeral has thinned
People long to slow down to our natural speed/pace
being in a place where everything you have learnt is no longer relevant is a good thing
find your limitations and push forward
nothingness and everythingness simultaneously
religion and art – inseparable from the beginning – humans fall into despair – and turn to art and religion to find meaning
creating art can be transcendent – you feel plugged into the universe and connected to something outside yourself…. like religion
in a studio, create the circumstances in which you receive information
if the work is not pushing boundaries or is challenged, what is the point…
Clodagh started off by showing us a power point of some of her work and her process. I was particularly drawn to her work on astronomy and the cosmos. She then went on to talk about the concept of mapping. We were broken into groups of 3 and were given some time to come up with an idea based on the premise of mapping. I was in the group with Jackie and Rosemary.
We decided to tackle the issue of public/private space boundary within the city. We chose the spot just outside the Electric bar, as both Rosemary and myself have previously had issues with this ‘invisible boundary’. We spent some time trying to gain the official records from the city council about the deeds/maps etc, but unfortunately were unsuccessful. This gave us little time to actually execute our idea which was for me to shoot the girls deliberately invading a ‘private space’ and claiming it as public space. I was shooting this from the studio window through a magnifying lens. Unfortunately we did not have time to review or edit this footage, so while the concept was good and could have been built on, the footage produced within the exercise was unsuccessful and has since been deleted.
This is one of the test videos I took in preparation for this exercise
The following are some of the notes and bullet points that I gleaned from Clodagh’s talk
Theme: Mapping – an exercise; to explore and expose the obscured and unrepresented and unaccounted
Tino Sehgal – dancer/performer – documenta
Mapping reality – cartography
Fear of nothingness – on a map an area of ‘nothingness’ has historically been filled in with something, such as a drawing/ compass etc
Irit Rogoff – ‘Getting Lost’
The map gives us a sense that we can transmute ‘everything that is not…into the real’
Clodagh Emoe – Drawings of black holes – she drew them onto grids/maps
Mind Maps – writing ideas and musings down = suddenly one has control
In between states – neither here nor there = Limineality (prelimineal = before, post limineal = transformed)
‘Very Little, Almost Nothing’ = book about nilism
ALICE – contemporary arts project, Francis st., Dublin
Yoga Nidra – guided meditation – psychic sleep
Invisible = show in Dublin
Alighiero E Boetti
Oulipian = OuLiPo, the “Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle” or “Workshop for Potential Literature,” was co-founded in Paris the early 1960’s by mathematician and writer Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais. Oulipian writers impose constraints that must be satisfied to complete a text, constraints ranging across all levels of composition, from elements of plot or structure down to rules regarding letters. OuLiPo thus pushes a structuralist conception of language to a level of mathematical precision; technique becomes technical when language itself becomes a field of investigation, a complex system made up of a finite number of components. The informing idea behind this work is that constraints engender creativity: textual constraints challenge and thereby free the imagination of the writer, and force a linguistic system and/or literary genre out of its habitual mode of functioning. The results of these experiments can be acrobatic. Famous Oulipian texts include Queneau’sCent Mille Millard de Poemes, a sonnet where there are 10 possible choices for each of the 14 lines, thus comprising 1014 potential poems, and Georges Perec’s La Disparition/A Void, a novel without the letter e, which constantly refers to the vowel’s disappearance.
John Cage – Flucix composer (Eric Satie)
Jacaues Roubaud – The Great fire of London – book
The Great Fire of London consists of a main text (“story”) and two sets of digressions (“interpolations” and “bifurcations”). Although best to read the insertions as they appear (indicated in the main text with cross-reference markers), this is an “interactive” text in which readers can decide for themselves how they wish to proceed. Roubaud’s novel stands as a lyrical counterpart of those great postmodern masterpieces by fellow Oulipians Georges Perec (Life: A User’s Manual) and Italo Calvino (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler).
Francis Alys – When Faith moves mountains, 2011
The Modern Procession
The Situationists – neo Marxists, anti capalist; social alienation, commodity fetishism; everyday hs been degraded through consumerism.
Stopping what you are supposed to do and approach things differently
The society of the spectical
The Revolution of the Everyday Life
Gordan Matta Clarke – Fake Estates
Robert Smithson – ‘Monuments of Passai’ – Artforum, Dec 1967 – mapping things that would be overlooked
Austerlitz – book by W.G. Sebald – trying to map memory trauma of the 2nd world war