fro Johanne goebel
Ion and all,
Adding a few thoughts to what Jon wrote in response to my longer litany.
Indeed, everything is happening in time. And a picture in a vault
changes over time and under this perspective no art work and indeed
nothing at all is static. I think differentiation is needed in order
to talk about specifics. Yes, "pantha rei", everything is in flux –
but in different relationships between "everything" and us as the ones
who make such statements.
For that reason I introduced "heart beats" into the discussion. My
passing life-time, my experiential time in conjunction with the
time-line that is inherently shaped as material of an art work. The
two time-lines are intentionally meant to be in reciprocal exchange in
time-based art. The passing of time and the change over time in
time-based art is created specifically and intentionally to relate to
the heart-beats of those who encounter the work. Time is part of the
material that is used and shaped by an artist – like paint, marble,
gold or grease – and then to meet in the time-structure it creates
(unfolding, interpretation, interaction etc.) with the flow of time of
an audience, visitor, spectator, interactor.
So it is not the same like the change of a 500 year old statue through
the suds of burning coal for heating in the ever-growing cities of the
18th and 19th century or the acidity in air and rain of the 20th
century stemming from cars.
Time-based arts demands the conjugation of its time with our and my
time in reciprocal modification. That is the whole "purpose" of it –
to abduct into the present, the moment as conspiracy and confluence,
where both sides are in movement. Whereas a "static" work of art waits
for me to envelope it with my time, to unlock its contained, frozen
time into the time of my experience, where I structure the time where
it meets me and I meet it – and "it" does not change in its material
and temporal appearance in a for me perceivable way in the moment I
put my time towards it. And indeed – I see "it" differently than
before after I spent time with it.
I am happy to learn about like your work and proposals for notation
and the common thoughts that arise from it, the meeting of traditional
time-based arts with its 20th century expansions.
Discussing the difference between notation, which is aimed for and
asks for interpretation (like in music or in concept art), and
notation as documentation of something that moves on a time line for
the purpose of creating an exact as possible record, may be helpful.
Maybe it is the difference between language-based notation (written
words) and scientific notation (mathematical, chemical etc.).
When I wrote that a notation maybe can only aim for re-imagination I
was meaning that in a quite limited personal way – not as
re-intepretation, re-creation, but as taking in all the documents that
describe a work (texts, scores, videos, sketches) and then conjuring
all that up in front of my inner eye to "see and hear" it as if I had
been there at the moment of its performance or my interaction with it.
As curator commissioning new works we have to do that all the time in
the opposite direction of time. We get all these proposals for not-yet
existing works and we have to imagine how it all may come together,
may work together, can be produced to reach what I as the person in
power over means think the artist proposes who is asking for the means
I have at my disposal. – And I will most certainly fail to imagine
it in my mind the same way as the artist imagines it. And then we
talk about it to potentially make these two imaginations come closer.
With growing expertise I get better and better in this process of
pre-imagening. And with growing age (which usually goes together with
growing expertise) I may be more and more prone to pre-judice ("oh,
this is just like …), which may prevent me to see to the heart of a
Maybe looking at a documentation/notation of a time-based art work of
our time can take that as point of departure. It allows me to
re-imagine what it must have been or would be like if I were to
experience the work right now, this moment. With all it's necessary
short-comings. And here the video and audio documentation comes in as
most important. Again, with all its shortcomings – but we can talk
about it long after the work was accessible as a complete work.
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