a very original artist who i think informs our re drawing boundaries
discussion is Morgan O Hara
who has a thirty year practice of documenting the motions of individuals and
her practice involves drawing and close documentation of the actual movement
she has done this both for individual actions in a fixed place ( eg a
pianist playing the piano)
and the movement of people in geographic space, making geo-portaits of
the drawings immediately reveal the presence of "borders" that people
observe unconsciously, and how their habits define spaces ( intimate, local
the power of drawing is that it involves ultimate abstraction so that the
really "speaks" visually and emotionally. Her drawings often reveal the
"temperament" of a person by bringing out their "pacing" or other
behavioural aspects that would be hard to grasp from purely digital data
In a previous email i referred to the extensive research now being done with
cell phone data that for instance allows one to make a map of england
showing the density of phone calls made in a given laguage = say Hindi
these maps are very strange as they dont correspond to the usual geopolical
maps and they ignore geopolitical borders. Or a map of the density of
people who eat a given kind of food ( eg pizza) can now be derived
from google maps data bases.
there is an extensive body of work in surveillance art/
with the notable example of Hasan Elahi who after being
falsely arrested after 911 has developed an art practice
where he documents minutely every waking hour of his life
morgan o'hara has been working in this territory for decades
and I think it really brings to the fore the issue of how
we actually inform our concepts of borders with real data,
which often reveal that our mental concepts of the
borders we observe dont correspond to the reality of our
behaviours ( yes the internet can re inforce ghetto behavious rather
than really encouraging open borders)
here are a few more words about O Hara's work
LIVE TRANSMISSIONS render visible normally invisible or fleeting movement
patterns through seismograph-like drawing done in real time. The pursuit of
vitality carefully observed through human activity is drawn simultaneously
with both hands and transmitted to paper. Following closely the intensity of
each segment of an activity, the direction of a line as well as the quality
of its intensity is transmitted. If a person makes a gentle movement, a
delicate line is drawn. If the action followed is forceful or violent, a
correspondingly vigorous line is made. This is done simultaneously and as
much as possible without "thinking".
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The new show at the Painting Center opened on Thursday April 28th. It was
great working intensely for four days, all 7 artists clogging the space with
ladders, equipment, tools, projectors. We started out very respectful of
each others' spaces, moved to sharing tools and lunch runs, and finished up
with beers. Nice process. It is an interesting show. Stephen Maine did a
great job of curating.
It will be up until May 21st. Gallery hours are 11am to 6pm.
I hope you will get a chance to see it. I don't think there was ever a show
There will be a Stephen Maine moderated panel discussion of the work on Tuesday
May 17 at 7pm.
Here is an image of my piece, 9 1/2 x 16 feet. Photo taken by Kevin Noble.
Wishing you fortitude and patience during this weird weather.
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