|..from the vault: written 2004 pissypants
||[Jul. 3rd, 2005|07:53 pm]
Amelia Jones “Postfeminism, Feminist Pleasures, Embodied Theories of Art” (1993)|
Jones’ Arguments: The Problematics of ‘Postfeminism’
In her article, Amelia Jones’ traces the development of the antifeminist cultural discourses that she argues “veil their hostility to feminism” through the supposedly “historicizing term ‘postfeminism’”(383). She sets out to explore the “discursive means by which the death of feminism (its status as ‘post’) has been promoted through media constructed photographic images and written texts, examining what is at stake- politically, culturally, and economically, in this promotion” of postfeminism (383). Jones argues and cites examples of how feminism has been merely reduced to a unitary construct- and then discursively and photographically executed as postfeminism through popular culture and the mass media. She discusses the ways in which feminist thought, and feminist politics are watered down, dismissed altogether, or de-activated through the use of postfeminist discourse, specifically in relation to art theoretical discourse, and analysis of art work produced by feminist artists.
She strives to suggest ways of reconsidering the problematics posed by the use of the term ‘postfeminism’ by exploring the previous work of second wave feminist artists, who use their bodies intrinsically. She uses this method of re-viewing and re-illuminating the work and feminist practice of second wave feminist artists as a useful way to explore and also contrast the negative effects of postmodernism and ‘postfeminism’ (384). Jones clearly values the way these artists use their feminist strategies as embodied female assertions of auto-eroticism. She argues that it is through this embodied nature of practice, that an empowering meaning for feminism is created and maintained in Western culture (384). She situates these practices as those which in the wake of ‘postfeminism’ has been ignored and disregarded. Jones suggests a way of rethinking what she considers limited notions of sexual critique that she argues accompany postfeminism, through theorizing feminist interpretative pleasures that these feminist activated and embodied works evoke (384).
Postfeminism and Pop Culture: Appropriation and (Mis)representation of Feminism
Jones describes examples of the ways in which the postfeminist backlash in popular culture represents feminism. She argues that the enemies of the postfeminist backlash are professional, working women, and moreover- “self defined feminists who confuse and transgress previously accepted codes of domesticated femininity” (384). She argues that this feminist enemy is constructed as a homogeneous figure- “visually and textually coded as a professionally powerful and often excessively sexual woman”- normalized in terms of race and class, as well as sexual orientation (384). This feminist enemy to the status quo as she discusses, is exemplified and epitomized through the television character Murphy Brown who is considered feminist- is a self sufficient woman- and thus considered an enemy to traditional family values, due to her independence from men (384). Because the character stands against the paternalist ideology of the ideal family, Jones argues that Murphy Brown “functions as a powerful discursive category” for antifeminists who explicitly identify her as a feminist (385).
Jones argues that in contrast representations of the female subject as postfeminist are “subordinate to the commodity system and to the circulation of normative heterosexual male desires” (358). She suggests that photographic images of the postfeminist woman perform as a means to reinforce predictable stereotypes of femininity, and are thus “produced to bolster a masculinist economy of social relations” (385). She argues that these images construct a representation of contemporary women as white, “rich, nonprofessional, narcissistic, and profoundly materialistic [as they attempt to determine] a unified postfeminist subject” (385).
Jones continues to explore popular culture representations of feminism through films which depict the “deviance” and “expendability of women who are sexually and/or professionally powerful” (386). She uses the example of the film Basic Instinct (1992) where, as she accounts “the ‘strident lesbian,’ [a feminist] becomes a man-killing bisexual with an ice pick/phallus” (387). Jones argues that narratives such as this produce/reproduce the “necessity of annihilating the non domesticated contemporary woman in bloody orgies of human destruction, or at least of re-inscribing her into the family structure” (387). She is arguing through this representation that “with the termination of this woman [or feminist] comes the termination of feminism and its threatening anti-patriarchal goals” (387).
Within this ‘postfeminist’ or moreover anti-feminist backlash, Jones describes the emergence of the so called ‘men’s movement’ in the popular media, which “appropriates and perverts the rhetoric of feminism to urge the contemporary American male to ‘find a voice of his own’ as a ‘Wild Man’” as they “lament the feminization of the American male at the hands of his female caretakers’ (387). Jones uses this example as a means to illustrate the way feminism has been appropriated by the backlash, and how feminism is denied currency, and assumed to be in a state of ‘post’ or irrelevancy, through such blatantly ridiculing practice.
Postfeminist Subjects/Objects in Contemporary Art : the Eradication of Feminism
Jones argues that through the dominant discourse of postmodernism and through appropriation the politics of feminism have been generalized and defused. She addresses that it is a certain type of feminist practice (deemed to be compatible with “avant-gardist strategies of subversion”) that is “incorporated into postmodernism and the particular politics of feminism are defused”- and ultimately generalized as one radical postmodern strategy among many, which is labeled as ‘beyond’ feminism (388). Jones admits that while this incorporation of the term postfeminism, even by feminist art historians is used as a means of historicizing specific artists from that of the second wave, and is not consciously antitfeminist- that the result usage of the term promotes antifeminist ends (388). She argues this perspective through discussing the collapse of feminism into postmodernism, and how this allows postmodernism to claim postmodernism as an anti-masculinist alternative to a phallocentric modernism (388). It is this “strategic appropriation of feminism”, she argues which both attempts to radicalize postmodernism and “simultaneously facilitates the silencing of the confrontational voices of feminism,” resulting in the “replacement of feminism by a less threatening postfeminism of (non)difference” (388).
Jones discusses the example of the way in which artists work which is most explicitly feminist- such as Cindy Sherman, is critiqued in such a postfeminist light- and whose work which directly critiques the visual construction of the feminine is reduced to this defused analysis (390). Jones contests Donald Kuspit’s analysis of Sherman’s work, in which he assumes, (according to this postfeminist critique) that her work expresses “a ‘universal’ message lamenting the general conditions of humanity” (390). His analysis views Sherman’s work as simply a narrative of masculinized universality, void of Sherman’s explicit feminist subject point. His analysis sustains, as Jones argues, “the privilege of masculinity, a pre- or antifeminist system of gender relations, which must be maintained”- and as a result, “Sherman’s feminism is effectively eradicated through this incorporation into the ‘universal’ concerns of humanism” (391). Jones effectively articulates the assumptions postfeminist discourse maintain, such as ‘universality’ as they appose the specificity that feminism requires and demands.
The Stakes of Postfeminism: Distance, Loss of Subject-hood, and Denial of Pleasure
Jones argues that “underlying the dominant postmodern value system is the stipulation that the progressive art practice must follow avant-gardist strategies of ‘distanciation’ as developed in the aesthetic theories of Bertolt Brecht” (391). She argues that the postmodern strategies of ‘distanciation’ “aim to displace and provoke the spectator, making [them] aware of the process of experiencing the text and therefore precluding [their] identification with the illusionary and ideological functions of representation” (391). It is this postmodern association with the concept if distance that is utilized as the reasoning behind ‘less-subject’ oriented analysis, which distances itself from the self, and subject-hood. Jones argues that it is this ‘distanciation’ that requires a resistance to pleasure- “a prohibition of the objects seduction of the spectator as an embodied and desiring subject” (391). She suggests that it is ultimately under these dominant conceptions of postmodern discourse that art objects that refuse visual pleasure is valued over more, overtly seducing, sensual or ‘decorative’ work (391-392).
Jones discusses Laura Mulvey’s “feminist call for a destruction of visual pleasure,” and how Mulvey’s argument poses that because the “construction of women as objectified [‘other’] through visual representation is inevitable; feminists must therefore necessarily work to reduce this objectification” (392). Under this view, Jones argues that in the “insistence on the refusal of pleasure […] it can also be seen to be aligned with a particular masculinist emphasis in modern art criticism in bodily control,” (392) thus degenerating works that deem the body as free, and vital. Considering the current devaluing of these practices which “elicit bodily desires,” especially auto-eroticism, - it is clear, as Jones argues, “why feminist artists whose works evoke visual and other bodily pleasures have been excluded from current histories and theories of art in contemporary art” due to what Mulvey herself has referred to as the “1970’s paranoia about visual pleasure” (392-93).
Jones concludes by arguing that perhaps in fact the most radical rethinking of feminism can take place through the articulation of re-embodied theories of female subjectivity and feminist agency. Jones ultimately calls for the resurgence, and reconsideration of the feminist politics, and feminist artists work, which flourished during the second wave. She argues that it is through these embodied, “performances of female bodies”, and feminist bodies, that “artist’s breakdown the masculinist critical prohibition of pleasure” (394). They act as authors of and objects with in their own works, they perform female artistic agency through expressions of auto-eroticism, feminist embodiment, and specificity of a clear and subversive feminist self.
|new kitten named Alvin
||[Jun. 6th, 2005|02:42 pm]
ok so i got another kitten. so now i have 3 cats, a bulldog, 3 fish, and a boyfriend!|
the baby cat's name is Alvin, he is grey, and super small! we adopted him from a neighbor who couldnt keep the 2 kittens she had. so now he lives with us! awwwwwww!
i am extremely tired today.
sick all last week, feeling better now- just really tired.
had a good weekend- woofstock was cute! stella saw lots of other bulldoggies!
next week is my convocation- im actually pretty excited to have that piece of paper.
the day after my graduation i have to have a minor surgery- blahh not looking forward to it.
i better be fine after that. take away those fucking cancerous cells FUCK.
i am very happy living with mike.
we got in a little argument yesterday because we were both hot, tired, and cranky. he said some stuff to me that made me really pissed off, but he aplogized and we talked it out, and we are fine now.
i really really really need a job. i am completely broke.
i cant believe how hard it is to find a decent job right now. i apply and nothing. fuck.
i just want basic office work. geez come on!
anyways i love my new apartment, i am happy, relatively non stressed (except due to not having a job) and feeling really good for once in my fucking life.
|when i look back
||[Jun. 1st, 2005|10:44 am]
im sick today-- i have a migraine headache. blaaaa.|
i have been in a very emotional and contemplative mind set.
i was thinking about retard Ed, and why oh why i was attracted to him? did i really hate myself that much?
i was remembering the way he would talk to me- like i was a piece of shit. and how he made me feel-- insecure (because he was cheating on me with loser slutbags online), disrespected (because i knew he was doing this and didnt care), angry, sad, depressed, etc.
i think back on the type of person he was, is, and his accomplishments (or lack there of), and i wonder WHY did i date him, why did i give him money, why did i let him live at my apartment and not contribute.
WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING? or not thinking as the case may be.
sometimes i hit low moments, and i wonder what he is doing now? i dont know why i think about this, and i read that he is in rehab? is that a joke? wouldnt surprise me either way.
i guess the whole point of my query is more about understanding what i was thinking. what made me act and react to such a person?
||[May. 26th, 2005|11:17 am]
well i have finished it. i now have my MA. wow.|
i just moved and i am incredibly happy.
i left behind me the revolting memories of living in that dreaded basement apartment with 2 lowlife boys (both at seperate times). the specters of their memory can fade away into the darkness, never to be resurrected.
my new apartment is lovely.
stella and the cats are happy. mike is happy, and i am happy also.
god it is refreshing to be in the company of a real man for once.
||[May. 1st, 2005|12:42 pm]
Dearest Ex-Boyfriend, |
I'm sorry to say, but it's become boring to stalk you. Your e-mail account, once peppered with love notes from the girl you cheated on me with, is now just a haven for random, two-sentence discussions with ex-roommates about what you ate for dinner and how frickin' cold it is outside.
I suppose I shouldn't expect much from somebody who has had the same e-mail password for two years. On the off chance that it is changed, it's only to another easily deciphered, crap indie rock band. But on the days when interacting with the world would become tiresome, your sappy love notes to SLS (stupid little s*ut) were like my own personal soap opera. Though I was sad that you were no longer my boyfriend and I would not have the honor of being constantly berated for listening to top 40 music or listening to your constant whining, your brief "i want to squeeze your tush" messages were entertaining in a twisted way.
Even better, however, were the notes to your friends detailing incidents of cheating on SLS too. Or the random, purple-haired girls you met at "shows" who showed you a good time one night and then e-mailed to say "thanks." I was tempted to forward these messages on to SLS many a time, but logic begged restraint, so I held steadfastly to (a bottle of gin and) the principle that what goes around, comes around.
Apparently, good sir, it has come around. Though your actions didn't really show it, you apparently really had feelings for SLS. So when she announced that you were a drama queen and she was getting back together with her ex-boyfriend, you took it pretty hard. You wrote e-mails to female friends you'd ignored for months, complaining about how "it hurts" and how you "couldn't believe it" and no doubt sobbed for hours into your fraying He-Man sheets.
This too was also like a good soap opera (like when Hope came back from the dead on 'Days' and broke up Bo and Billie ... sort of). But it seems SLS has stolen your spark. There are no messages from purple-haired girls anymore -- just war protest forwards from chubby, bespeckled (sp?) friends, grammatically challenged requests for drunken binges from college buddies and the occasional, "did you get my message" alerts from mom.
So sad. I'm not even tempted to call your cell phone and erase your messages anymore or to try to crack into SLS' e-mail account. As you have no drive to be exciting, I have no drive to share in your misery.
And so I bid you adieu, boring ex-boyfriend. May you one day provide some electronic happiness for another tech-savvy ex-girlfriend.
||[Apr. 28th, 2005|08:28 am]
copyright pissy_panties productions.|
Mona Hatoum:Strange Bodies
The de-materialized body
The enigmatic sculpture and multi-media installations of Mona Hatoum create an unsettling, dissolving, and dialectical play. Her works generate an experience and sensation that bounce between awe/dread; seduction/and repulsion. She often transforms daily used domestic objects into strange and eerie objects of bodily confinement and haunting discomfort. Much of her work has centered on the portrayal of her own body through video and performance works. In turn, the body (self/other) re-appears in her sculpture and installation through examinations of the de-materialized or disembodied form. For Hatoum the body is a site where the familiar and the foreign meet, where these two conceptions dissolve; much like the boundaries of the flesh. Her sculptures are ‘haunted’ by the spectral presence of life (as well as death), of the familiar and the strange, self and “other.”
In his essay on “The Uncanny (1919)” Freud describes and analyzes the haunting and eerie feeling created through the tension brought on by the familiar made strange. Freud states: “The ‘uncanny’ [unheimlick] is that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar” (368). The disembodied presence of the body in this sense becomes through its dematerialized form, but in its ephemeral presence- an uncanny occurrence.
Freud argues that an experience of the uncanny is in part created through the in-distinction between the real/unreal, or by the familiar made foreign. He suggests that the uncanny is experienced “when one possesses knowledge, feeling and experience in common with the ‘other’, identifies himself with another person, so that his self becomes confounded, or the foreign self is substituted for his own- in other words, by doubling, dividing, and interchanging the self” (“Uncanny” 387). Freud argues that the experience of the “uncanny is in reality nothing new or foreign, but something familiar and old established in the mind that has been estranged only by the process of repression” (“Uncanny” 394). Within this experience of the foreign, through the fragmentation, and dematerialization of the body, I argue is the moment of enigma- where the object in question becomes consumed by one’s experience of the spectral presence of the body.
I am interested in this notion of haunting, auratic or spectral quality which certain works evoke. The self made strange: shown from the borders of form, represented through its detritus and fragmented presentation creates a double response- one of familiarity and repulse. The works I will discuss by Mona Hatoum encompass this very feeling; they play with associations of the body, although they reject displaying the body as whole. The metaphorical body is present in varying degrees in these works- allowing the de-materialized body to hover in a realm of the real, and the represented. The body is not represented as such, but rather through an evocative sense of bodily presence. The uncanny and/or spectral response to her works is felt due to the viewer’s strange identification with the (non)presence of the body.
This presence of the de-materialized or borderline body resonates with Julia Kristeva’s conceptualization of the Abject body, and more specifically Georges Bataille’s concept of the Formless, as re-read through Ives Alain-Bois, and Rosalind Krauss. According to Kristeva the Abject body exists when the operational borders between the inside and outside collapse and the fragility of breaking these boundaries create anxiety or a sense of trauma. Kristeva situates the abject corporal body as a subject/object split which has no borders, an indistinction of boundaries, she suggests that “it is death infecting life” (Kristeva, 4). Georges Bataille’s short and ambiguous description of what he coins ‘the Formless’(1927-1930) describes a phenomenon which resists rational and material structure or that which resists “taking shape” (Bataille, 31). Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss expand on Bataille’s conceptualization and attempt to categorize and classify that which produces the formless. This conceptualization of the Formless encompasses such notions as: base materialism, horizontality, entropy, and pulse.
Base materials such as discarded hair, blood, skin tissue, and bodily ‘otherness’ defile the space they inhabit. Bois argues that according to Bataille “matter is seductive waste appealing to what is most infantile in us. The “scatological dimension” of base materials such as bodily secretions, excrement, and dirt are oppositional to idealism in the “hierarchy of matter,” and therefore create a sense that is foreign and “regressively low” (Bois, 29). The horizontal axial position “brings things down in the world” (Bataille, 31), it is the space of burial, the carnal sexual act, as well as the corpse. Through the process of entropy (irreversible degradation of energy) subjects are destined to spoil, rot, and decay (Bois, 34). Pulsation projects the drive, throb, and vibration of life; as Bois suggests: “no image of the body is necessary to produce this intrusion of desire the pulse alone sexualizes the gaze” (Bois, 32). The concept of the formless itself is inherently dissolving in theory-it abolishes materiality through its supposed incessant ability to resist embodiment. This dissolving, disembodied presence resonates with Jacques Derrida’s concept of the specter or the spectral; a ‘haunting,’ ephemeral bodily figure which is neither and both present and absent.
In Specters of Marx (1994) Derrida outlines the phenomenon of the spectral by describing it as “what one imagines, what one thinks one sees and which one projects-onto an imaginary screen where there is nothing to see” (Derrida, 101). He goes on to suggest that the specter appears to present itself during a visitation […] but it is not present, itself, in flesh and blood (101) For there is no ghost, there is never any becoming-specter of the spirit without at least an appearance of the flesh, in a space if invisible visibility, like the disappearing of an apparition. For there to be ghost there must be a return to the body, but to a body that is more abstract than ever (Derrida, 126).
In “Spectrographies” (2002) Derrida reasserts that the specter is “first and foremost something visible” (115). He argues that “it is of the visiable, but of the invisiable visiable, it is the visibility of the body which is not present in flesh and blood” (115). Derrida argues that the spectral is “a trace that marks the present with its absence in advance, [its logic is] a deconstructive logic” (117). Derrida implies that the specter or the spectral presence of the body is created through the familiar made strange- through the “home outside itself” (132). In this sense the spectral body hovers over the spaces in which the body may have once been associated, or through that which propels the subject to acknowledge the body. I would argue that the spectral body is present through certain associations made in regards to domestic objects such as carpets, chairs, and beds which are the basic elements of support and structure in the house and home. The spectral presence of the body is more obviously, yet powerfully present in the inherently ephemeral nature of photographic and filmed moments.
Through the use of such mediums the ghosts of what has been are projected onto the present moment- forced to exist in a time and place of which they do not belong. Through these technologies moments, spaces, and people can temporarily (for a certain term) be brought back to life: their voices, movements, and bodily presence flash before our eyes. The feeling of re-experiencing this dematerialized past creates a haunting feeling of the familiar made foreign. According to Roland Barthes (who Derrida cites) in Camera Lucida (1980) the presence of a figure in a
photo is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body which was there proceed radiations that come to touch me, I who am here. […] The photo of the departed being comes to touch me like the delayed rays of a star. A kind of umbilical cord ties to the body of the photographic thing to my gaze: light, though impalpable, is really a carnal medium here […](Derrida,113).
For Barthes a photograph of oneself is a prime manifestation of the spectral, or the self becoming spectral. He argues that: “the photograph represents that very subtle moment when […] I am neither subject nor object, but a subject that is becoming an object: I then experience a micro-version of death: I am truly becoming a specter” (Barthes, 14). Barthes associates the photographic image of the self to be a process of ‘othering’ or of death. In this sense, when a person is photographed their image takes on an uncanny presence through photography. They are real, yet are presented through this process as object. Barthes describes that through the capture of his essence, he experiences a frozen, death- like state- where he is neither real nor unreal. The image is left behind through time, as an ephemeral and spectral representation of the objectified self or ‘other.’ The presence of the specter is conjured through careful and subtle material associations which pertain to the body, yet are foreign bodies.
Keeping these theoretical models in mind, I will discuss how Mona Hatoum’s work fundamentally hovers between the spaces of the body as: self/ “other,” internal/external, present, yet absent. Central to my interest in these works is their ability to communicate a sense of life, and in turn death- through plays with dialectical examinations. I argue that the life force and equally the death drive are present in these works through the bodily associations the works provoke. The corporal body is present, yet incorporeal through Hatoum’s manipulations of suggestive form and material.
The installation Corps Etranger (Foreign Body), 1994 consists of a cylindrical viewing booth which is lined with black soft fabric. The structure houses the intimate, yet foreign projections of Hatoum’s internal organs, as they are explored by an endioscopic camera which navigates the internal and external contours of her body. The circular images are projected onto the floor in massive scale. The images of the body are often unrecognizable as such- yet are strangely familiar to the viewer as they attempt to recognize organs, veins, skin, and hair. The camera quickly enters each orifice of Hatoum’s body- guiding the viewers gaze through the tunnels of wet, soft, tubular forms (Morgan, 2) which move and swerve as the camera explores. The viewer experiences the body through the lens of the camera- the camera creates the pathway by which we experience the internal structures of the body in which we inhabit. The body in this sense is no-longer viewed as whole- but rather as the internal, disfigured, or ambiguous mass of flesh, organs, and fluid. The borders of the body are recognized and disoriented as the camera moves from the internal to the external. Although, the experience suggests the need to envision the body as whole, as we contend with the abstracted form of the internal body.
Our experience of this body is fragmented and ambiguous- a body in the state of becoming before our eyes. This becoming of form in its materiality refuses to cohere- the borders of internal and external are mysteriously fused. The projected body parts Hatoum presents to us are real- yet are haunted by the overwhelming need to see, or capture the body in whole. To experience this body the viewer must peer down to the ground- the internal exploration on a horizontal plane. The viewer steps inside the realm of the internal body, as the projection encompasses the horizontal plane of the viewer’s space. The camera is able to materialize a view of the internal body that is not naturally available to the naked eye. Echography is used to record and transmit the sounds created through the bodily processes of breathing, digestion, and heartbeat. This ephemeral recording of the body’s life sustaining sounds and pulsation create a strange experience of that which we rarely consider (the base interior of our body) on such an elevated and grandiose scale. The work plays with the dialectical relationship between experiencing the body as self, and other. The body here is the foreign body (not our own) - yet it communicates to us the familiarity, but also the strangeness of our own bodies. Through the use of photographic video projection Hatoum creates a space where her internal/external body is projected onto the viewer’s space. The use of photographic video projection creates an ephemeral spectral presence of the body in time and space. Hatoum states:
I wanted to give the feeling that the body becomes vulnerable in the face of the scientific eye, probing it, invading it’s boundaries, objectifying it… on the other hand when you enter the room, in places, you feel like you are on the edge of an abyss that can swallow you up, the devouring womb, the vagina dentata, castration anxiety…there is a sense of threat which is something that is present in a lot of my work (Archer, 138).
Through the process of surgical intervention, and video projection Hatoum’s presentation of her body, an extended self portrait, is transformed into a disembodied manifestation which eerily recalls the formless. The macabre sculptural carpet, Entrails Carpet, 1995 constructed of opalescent rubber molded into a gruesome, yet fascinating relief pattern, strongly suggests internal organs: entrails, intestines, or “guts.” This massive accumulation of seemingly delicate and soft entrails appear as if they have been collected and displayed in such a way as to invite the viewer to sit in comfort. The material Hatoum uses allows the surface of the ‘carpet’ to reflect light, which allows the work a moist, life like appearance, which is at second consideration less than enticing. Hatoum states:
I want the meaning to be embedded, so to speak, in the material that I am using. I choose the materials as an extension of the concept, or sometimes in opposition to it, to create a contradictory and paradoxical situation of attraction/repulsion, fascination/ revulsion” (Brett, 102).
The meticulous and inviting nature of the carpet’s surface is transformed when the viewer realizes that the surface may in fact be to their horror- human entrails. This presentation of the disembowelled and formless body, which is created, and left to exist on the floor, is lowered to the state of a banal domestic object such as a carpet- a surface for sitting, or standing. The body in this work has no structure, no frame. It is the uncontained, fragmented, and metaphorical body. The presentation of such a base substance as the disembowelled organs and their putrid nature in such a highly sanitized and even decorative and seductive form creates a strange experience of the essence of the body which we would usually, immediately reject.
The presentation of the body Hatoum faces us with encompasses a disconcerting aspect of foreignness, as the body becomes transformed into something rejected, strange and “other.” Our sense of the human body hovers over what at fist glance may be just a decorative carpet, but which at closer look is less ambiguously the haunting presence of the real body.
The immaculate and sterile sculptural work Silence, 1994 seemingly appears to be a realistically constructed representation of a bed-like structure or child’s crib. This work is part of Hatoum’s many sculptural works which represent furniture-based domestic objects. Like the skeleton, furniture becomes a structure or form which supports the body. Furniture is described in bodily terms: chairs and tables and beds personified through the support of their “backs,” “legs,” and “arms.” Like the body’s skeleton – furniture sustains and keeps erect our tired and otherwise formless bodies.
This sculpture of an infants crib created entirely out of thin glass tubes (reminiscent of test tubes) are blown together to construct an endless network. The associations made in relation to test-tubes recall containers of bodily presence as the vision of blood flowing through the glass tubes haunts the piece. This structure can not contain or support a child- as its inherent structure is much too fragile and dangerous- nor does it contain the supportive bottom frame in which to hold a mattress. The hollow structure- although it evokes the skeletal nature of the body- is missing its life sustaining fluids. In this sense the work is haunted by its bodily presence, and yet it’s inability to sustain life. The body is present through this work through its absence, and that which is associated with the materials and form it consists of. Hatoum’s works eerily resonate with bodily associations pertaining to certain surfaces, materials, and forms.
The way Hatoum uses materials to suggest certain bodily association is vital to her work. She states that she “likes to explore the sensuousness of materials and use them to create an emotional charge” (Archer, 17). As I argue, the enigmatic and dematerialized presence of the body (to varying levels of transparency) is present in her work. Through plays with the familiar/foreign body, and the internal/external body the ‘estranged’ body is represented through its abstract, internal, and discarded remnants such as blood, flesh and hair. Hair can be the source of either beauty (an ideal material) or disgust (a base material) depending on the circumstances. After it is shed, a stray hair instantly transforms into filth, a sign of death and decay. The hair itself is a sign of bodily presence; present through its superfluous detritus, yet absent in and of itself. Snipits of hair are often collected and preserved in lockets and albums as a memento-mori or monument of infant-hood -links to the past. Shed hair although often considered repulsive can also be considered fragile manifestations of bodily presence in a space. Although the very nature of the material suggests, as well as denies bodily presence.
The hair collected by Hatoum and used in her installation Recollection, 1995 is her own hair collected over a 6 year period (Brett, 75). Hatoum meticulously ties her stray hairs into an endless thread which is hand spun into tiny geometric spheres. These beautifully crafted objects are hung from the ceiling from single threads of hair which are scattered across the space. When the viewer enters the large open, seemingly empty space, the single, fragile strands of hair sweep across ones face like a spider web. This feeling of brushing up against a ghost creates a sensation that one may not be alone in this space. The small balls of hair collect together across the floor, and gently sway across the floor as the viewer passes by.
Hair; ultimately the refuse of the body is tied to the base materiality and horizontality of the body. The accumulations of hair balls (although they are painstakingly created) are created using the rejected, defilement, or debasement of the body. Hair is only considered deserving of attention while part of the human body—once removed, and disembodied it immediately loses its value. Hair is a base material that becomes a scatological material through its removal from the body. In this way Hatoum’s formulations of hair in this work displays the disembodied, estranged, and spectral presence of the body. The body, which is inherently familiar to all, seems repulsively strange under such minute examination and consideration. The remnants of Hatoum’s own body become the foreign body through division and detachment, like a stray hair.
The spectral presence of the body encompasses Mona Hatoum’s sculpture and installation. Bodily connotations haunt her works which create fascinating, yet eerie sensations. What may appear as a predictable object at first glance may in fact, at closer investigation carry the premonition of an estranged bodily presence. Hatoum presents us with these strange bodies which are neither whole, nor completely visible, but whose presence in space and time can not be easily dismissed. The experience of this display of the spectral body is in fact hauntingly familiar (self) and foreign (other). Luce Irigaray asks us “to consider this ambiguous boundary between the body and ‘otherness’, not as horror and disgust, but as providing a glorious opening onto a new form of identity construction- a female divine” (Brett, 102).
Archer, Michael. Guy Brett, and Catherine de Zegher. Mona Hatoum. New York:
Phaidon Press, 1997.
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. (1980) New York: Hill
and Wang, 1981.
Bataille, Georges. Visions of Excess, Selected Writings 1927-1939. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1985.
Bois, Yve- Alain and Rosalind Krauss. Formless: A User’s Guide. New York: Zone
Brett, Guy. “Survey.” Mona Hatoum. New York: Phaidon Press, 1997.
Derrida, Jacques. Specters of Marx: the State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and
the New International. New York: Routledge, 1994.
Derrida, Jacques and Bernard Stiegler. “Spectrographies.” Echographies of Television.
Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002. 113-134.
Foster, Hal. Design and Crime (and other Diatribes). London: Verso, 2002.
Freud, Sigmund. “The Uncanny (1919).” Collected Papers Volume IV: Papers on
Metapsychology, Papers on Applied Psycho-Analysis. Trans. Joan Riviere. London: Hogarth Press, 1934. 368-407.
Harper, Paula. “Visceral Geometry: Works of Mona Hatoum.” Art in America. Sept
1998. March 16, 2004. <http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m1248/n9_v86/21268572/p1/article.jhtml?term>
Klayman, Melinda. “The Physicality of Disembodied Hair: Mona Hatoum’s
Recollection.” Off the Top of Your Head: Hair as Subject and Medium in Art
at the End of the 20th Century. Austin: University of Texas.1998. March 16, 2004. <http://www.klayperson.com/writing/hair%20thesis.htm#chapter4>
Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1982.
Mona Hatoum. Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea. Milan: Charta. Mar
24- May 23, 1999.
Mona Hatoum: Domestic Disturbance. Ed. Laura Steward Heon. Massachusetts:
MASS MoCA. Mar 18- Nov 15, 2001.
Mona Hatoum: The Entire World as a Foreign Land. London: Tate Gallery, 2000.
Morgan, Jessica and Dan Cameron. Mona Hatoum. Chicago: Museum of
Contemporary Art. July 19- Sept 14, 1997.
||[Apr. 4th, 2005|12:54 pm]
from the vault...|
November 20, 2003
“The Body as a Doorway to Politics: Focus on Fat.”
This discussion is focused on the body as a political and culturally constructed and regulated site/sight. In Modern Western culture the body and mind have been split apart and thrown into a binary. The notion of the body is devalued, considered too reliant on nature, and considered feminine. Whereas the mind has been valued, it is the site of reason and culture, and therefore considered masculine. Due to this hierarchy women’s bodies specifically have been subject to violence, and oppression. Women’s bodies have been culturally considered the site of sin, corruption, un-cleanliness, and hyper-sexualization. The patriarchal mass media place women as objects, and have provided women with stereotypes and images of “the ideal” woman, which are not only unrealistic, but incredibly harmful, especially for young women. These images of tall, white, thin, able bodied yet often anorexiated bodies tell women and girls what they should be like, in order to fit as feminine.
Feminism has fought for women’s equal status to men. Women have rejected such hyper-essentialist notions of the body and sought to prove their mental capabilities. While this is an obvious necessity, to qualify one’s own intelligence and capability, it is central to women’s autonomy that the body be brought back into the discourse and re-valued. Women concerned with issues pertaining to their bodies, and their experience in them, as sexualized, raced, classed, disabled, and FAT are central to third wave feminist theory. No longer is the body/mind hierarchy maintained, but rather dismantled through the FAT activism, writing, and theory of young women, whose bodies do matter.
Ayuso, Lisa. “I Look Fat in This.” Turbo Chicks. Ed. Allyson Mitchell et al. Toronto: Sumach Press, 2001. 155-160.
Lisa Ayuso discusses the implication of identifying as FAT. She states that “the word FAT replaced my name, my body and the future of normality. FAT as noun, adjective, definition was the one thing I could hold on to” (156). She provides feminist theory with the term sizism, and argues that to understand sizism, one must understand its roots which lie in sexism (156). Ayuso states that: “sizism and sexism have taken over our runways and magazines with an ideal beauty and body standard that reduces the value of women solely to appearance. This has had a profound effect on the self esteem of women and girls” (156). It is through this negative and exclusive representation of women and ‘feminine bodies’ that women are oppressed and subjected to violence.
Sizism and sexism are co-dependant. She gives the example of men and women’s clothing, and how there are larger sizes available for men. Men’s sizes are available up to 48, whereas women’s sizes rarely exceed size 34 (156). She states that “there are 14 sizes in between what is acceptable in a man’s world and what is considered obese in a women’s world” (156). This designation of appropriate sizes for women, enforces poor body image on women, because most women are size 14 and higher, yet clothing stores promote the size 4. In our culture if a women wants to dress fashionably she needs to reduce her size in order to obtain what has been deemed acceptable for women (156).
It is this forced reduction and regulation of self and body that does violence to young girls and women. Ayuso discusses the shame associated with being FAT in our culture. She argues that:
Shame and ‘you’ve got such a pretty face’ are one step behind each other. I’ve had the experience of people singling out my beauty as starting at the top of my head, and ending at the bottom of my neck. They want to erase the rest of my body. Or they could never imagine incorporating it into my beauty (158).
This want and need for men and women to ‘erase’ FAT bodies, or for women themselves to erase, starve, and reduce their bodies is a major issue feminist’s face. Not only are women supposed to stay quiet and subservient, they are not to take up too much space.
FAT activism is central to the third wave agenda. Ayuso states that “freedom comes from the support of other FAT friends looking great, sharing experiences, writing and being active, organizing clothing swaps and potlucks, joking and enjoying life, trying daily to make real body sizes the standard for all women” (160).
It is part of the third wave’s theory and practice to incorporate issues of body image and FAT issues, instead of just glossing over being fat as unhealthy, or negative – but rather as a real issue women face and deal with, FAT as good, and healthy body weight as important. It is central to women’s autonomy to love and respect their own bodies, as well as to make their own decisions about their bodies, and choosing to be FAT, LOUD, and PHYSICALY PRESENT.
Lamm, Nomy. “Fishnets, Feather Boas and Fat” Body Outlaws: Young Women Write About Body Image and Identity. Seal Press, 1980. 78-87.
Nomy Lamm discusses her identity and experience as a FAT activist, Jewish, queer, disabled woman. For Lamm, her politics have everything to do with her body, and experience in her body. Through her writing we see the ways in which race, religion, class, ability, sex/gender, and sexuality inter-relate. She states: “I remember wishing so hard not to be a Jew, not to be disabled, not to be Queer and above all not to fat” (84). She discusses the many issues pertaining to body image, and how she ‘fits’ or does not fit into the ideal image of femininity. In regard to the goal of FAT activists, and body image Lamm argues:
I suppose that the goal that those working for better body image is to know and accept the reality of their bodies –and that’s an admirable goal, but I just wanna be sure this acceptance is open to women who really are fat. I hope I live to see the day when my thin friends will stop telling me and other fat women that they feel gross and fat. I figure if I can accept myself –when the body I have been given is probably your worst nightmare –then I know you can do the same (83-84).
I think that Nomy Lamm’s voice is important and I quote her fully:
No, I never got to choose to be a freak in the ways that make people pity or fear me, look through me like I’m invisible or stare like I’m a zoo animal. I never chose to be fat, and I never chose to be born with one leg all fucked up or to get my foot chopped off when I was three. I never chose to like girls (though I did choose to admit it to myself, and I can’t see how I’d be happy any other way) or to feel like a not-really-a-woman (86).
Nomy Lamm discusses her lived reality in her real body and how she performs her identity and femininity in a very complex way. Her theory is her practice, and her personal narratives are political. She articulates her body politics, and her experience as a woman with a real identity, and with real challenges. I find her writing extremely fundamental to the theory of the third wave. She provides a dynamic, integrative, and personal account of her identity, and the way her experiences are mediated by the politics surrounding her body.
Rossiter, Kate. “Growing Up Girl.” Canadian Women’s Studies CWS/cf: Young Women, Feminists, Activists, Grrrls. Volume 20/21. No. 4/1. 89-91.
Kate Rossiter discusses body politics and the body as site/sight for knowledge and experience. She discusses how women’s experiences with their body are devalued and considered separate from their ability to reason and think. The body is a site for knowledge about girlhood, womanhood, and femininity. The mind and the body are not dualisms; they are in relationship to each other. Although, girls are raised to regard their bodies as unruly and irrational entities. Bodies are considered less important and therefore need to be controlled through ‘rationality’ and ‘mind over matter.’ Especially in the third wave, feminists have sought to reunite the body with the mind. I see this through the discourse developed by young women talking about their sexuality, ability, and bodies as political and central vessels of their identity, as well as sites for knowledge, struggle, and resistance to racist, hetero-sexist, capitalist, patriarchy.
Rossiter discusses Joan Jacob Brumberg’s study of contemporary North American girl culture, The Body Project. Brumberg discusses the ‘body problem:’
By age thirteen, 53 percent of American girls are in happy with their bodies; by age seventeen, 78 percent are dissatisfied… talk about the body and learning how to improve it is a central motif in publications and media aimed at adolescent girls (89).
Rossiter argues that despite the female body being traditionally theorized as being a “permanent, passive object, a receptacle/receptor for the penetration of gazes,” “apolitical” and with identity and body image remaining separate from the body (89), she argues that:
The body is not simply a passive receptor or object on which my politics rest or around which they revolve; my politics change with body and my body changes with my politics […] my body is a political landscape, a sight of conflict and a sight of resistance (90).
Rossiter is very much describing the fluidity of her body and the fluidity of her politics. This is a third wave concept and is important because it allows for diversity and complexity, and is inclusive rather than exclusive. She states that through puberty, “I began to understand the ways that culture marked itself upon my body and the way that my body marked itself upon culture” (90). The body is political, and is in constant dialogue with the world we live in, a site/sight for knowledge, and mediates how we will experience the world accordingly.
She states that through “becoming a woman” she learned what culture expected of her as a female, and also the “myriad of ways the female body is organized to ‘fit’ patriarchal moulds of femininity” (90). Rossiter argues that the struggle for women’s own autonomy means “finding ways of making conscious decisions about [the] body separate from those which the oppressive dictates of patriarchy would have [us] make.” (90). This struggle is personal and political. The body is the primary sight of “personal experience and potential politicization through naming and sharing body knowledge” (90). Rossiter calls for the union of the body and mind, as a dynamic, rather than in opposition, as well as a site/sight of resistance and struggle for autonomy. She states:
I write my body politic to counter a modernist, patriarchal, ontology which would have me believe that my body is simply an appendage of the mind, and not a worthy ‘knower’ of political experience. I write to counter strictures, feminist and non-feminist; which would remove the agency and efficacy I possess with in my body and would have me believe that my ‘mental’ politics are somehow more important. I write to unite and explore my physical, emotional and mental experiences of ‘growing up girl’ (90).
I think that these points are central for women to express their own subjectivity and practice autonomy through their own validated physical experiences and lived realities. The dichotomy of mind and body, and the degradation and fear of the body must be dismantled. It is through this tearing down of the borders that women can be free to love and value their bodies, in whatever shape and size, and to express that in whatever way they choose.
||[Mar. 28th, 2005|06:43 pm]
Catherine Heard – Toronto based artist (Sculpture and Multimedia)
Art Historical/Social/Political Discourse:
Postmodern Feminist Theory (Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Mary Russo, Julia Kristeva)
Medical History and Discourse (wax medical models, 16th century medical diagrams)
Surrealism (subjectivity, feminine imaginary, challenge to modern rationality, uncanny)
Post Modern Feminist Analysis of Catherine Heard’s work:
Sections: Excessive Femininity, and the Female Grotesque.
♀ Internal Flesh- internal female sex organs, landscapes of the internal
Cabinet (2004) Mixed media (including wax, pigment and plaster)
Installation, dimensions variable.
Untitled (1993) After Vidius, 1611; after Bartisch, 1575; after Vesalius, 1543
Human hair, cotton, wood frames, brass plaque
♀ Inscriptive Surfaces- skin as site for inscriptive femininity: floral pattern/skin diseases
Efflorescence (detail), (1997) Antique christening gowns,
hand embroidery, wood, wool, wire
Ennui, (2000) Antique fabric, human hair over wool, and wire frame filled with rigid polyurethane foam
♀ Doubled and Deformed- Siamese twins, feminine as double, birth defect and deformation
Siamese Twins, (1993) Solvent transfer from photocopy of altered photo onto paper
1 from a series of 6
Siamese Twins, (1992) Painted silk, human hair over wool, wire wood
1 from a series of 6
♀ Materiality and Corporeality- object materiality, corporeal bodies, transgressive materials
Twin, (1999) Human hair, wool, dentures, glass marbles
||[Mar. 1st, 2005|08:04 pm]
Methodology: Art Education, Best Practices and Engaging Community. |
Art as Part of Daily Life - A Cross-cultural Dialogue between Art and People. Masako Iwano. The Journal of Aesthetic Education 37.4 (2003) 114-121.
• case study: community arts based initiative; model for what art and culture can do to empower a people and a community.
“If encounters with art and artists become part of daily life in a small rural community, and if aesthetic experiences are perceived by its local residents as part of their daily lives, what kinds of humanistic, cultural, and social change take place in the community and in the people involved?” (114)
“The artistic and aesthetic education provided in the community gradually opened up a dialogue not only between  artists as guests and  spectators as hosts, but also between art and people, culture and culture, and people and people within the local community” (114).
• opening up artistic and aesthetic dialogue
• opening up cross-cultural and multicultural discourse
Aesthetic Inquiry in Education: Community,Transcendence, and the Meaning of Pedagogy. Hanan A. Alexander. The Journal of Aesthetic Education 37.2 (2003) 1-18.
• philosophical analysis; to understand education as an art, to conceive inquiry in education aesthetically, and to assess pedagogy artistically.
Education as Art:
“Education can be understood as an accumulation of that which is taught and learned. The task, however, is not to teach all conclusions, intentions, understandings, and designs, but only those that are worthwhile; and to have a sense of what is most worth learning requires a conception of the good. Education, therefore, involves initiation into the traditions of reason, morality, meaning, and creativity, deemed most valuable by particular concepts of goodness, and these are constituted at the level of the entire community” (8).
“Another layer of educational experience, however, involves its relation to the culture or tradition into which it initiates. Teaching not only transmits old ideas it creates new ones. It is associated not only with predetermined feelings and norms; it also creates new attitudes and practices. Teaching is generative, not merely reproductive. It recalls the past, but it also pushes the limits, criticizes, explores, examines” (8).
• education as an ethical practice of transmitting as well as transforming inherited conceptions of artistic and aesthetic value, interpretation, experience.
Pragmatist Aesthetics and New Visions of the Contemporary Art Museum: The Tate Modern and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Angela Marsh (OISE). The Journal of Aesthetic Education 38.3 (2004) 91-106.
• “art as experience”; dissolving the distinction between “high/low” artistic and aesthetic practice: art/life, body/mind, subject/object, self/world. • dissolving “art for arts sake.” • art as experience = transformative potential, as a way to re-conceive the place of art and its function in the world.
• emphasis on holistic action in our engagement with art objects. • mandates designed to nurture and make accessible art-based experiences among diverse audiences; where art and life can meet via multiple approaches.
“John Dewey mandated the repositioning of our experience of art within the realm of the everyday, and recognized the importance of art objects principally with regard to how they operate within an experience as "carriers of meaning." In this quote from Art as Experience,  Dewey illustrates the segue between art and the perceiver, and his belief that within the profound art experience, lived dichotomies are healed”(91).
“Dewey blamed museum institutions for removing art from its lived, experiential context, where, muted by the museum voice too often privileged above others, audiences become dis-empowered from actively constructing their own experiences of art” (92). [postmodern museum: reflexive, shifting deconstructions of meaning, value, and experience.]
“In art as an experience, actuality and possibility or ideality, the new and the old, objective material and personal response, the individual and the universal, surface and depth, sense and meaning, are integrated in an experience in which they are all transfigured from the significance that belongs to them when isolated in reflection”(91).
“The role of the museum in presenting art to its publics should be to enable an aesthetic experience, one where participants can make meaning from their inquiry. Museums can be seen as enablers, not only in the presenting of art, but also in offering effective vehicles to support our understanding (and questioning) of it” (92).
Art As Experience:
• “democratized” experientially positioning of art collections. ie) TATE Modern: instead of chronological arrangements, works are organized around key genres or themes or “new narratives.” • closes the gap between museum and audience authority, giving the audience voice and privileging that voice within the museum setting (95). • create opportunity for aesthetic discourse within a wider audience, enabling experience for those previously uninitiated to the art world, and often disengaged by institutional “fine art” (95).
“Participate initiatives” [vibrant visitor-centered art experiences] ie) Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art offers community out reach initiatives, integrating an artist-in residence program into their  exhibit program. [M]embers from the local community and beyond are invited to engage with the resident artists and collaborate with fellow participants in the creation of artwork, which in turn is exhibited at the Baltic (95).
• inclusive, accessible, democratic public programming can be seen as the antidote to the outmoded, positivist, transmission-based, [elitist], museological approaches. • to enable engagement between viewer and the art through broader narratives [experiential themes] of the works, countering the [elitist experience or] “esthetic hunger” experienced by many who feel alienated in traditional galleries and museums (97). • to serve as a place for the contest of values and ideas, [dialogue between “fine art” and everyday life and experience; artists, art, and the public] (99).
“[It is] through community-based public programs (such as educational outreach, artist residencies, cooperative alliances with schools and art colleges, or public commissions) that perhaps the local can inspire the global […]” (103).
Museum as Process. Carol S. Jeffers. The Journal of Aesthetic Education 37.1 (2003) 107-119.
Art Museum Mandates:
[AGO Mission, Vision, Core Values and Goals:
We bring art and people together and boldly declare Art Matters.
We celebrate art in all that we do.
We believe our visitor experience is paramount.
We listen and contribute to our communities.
We stand for creativity, innovation and on-going learning.
We are committed to the highest professional and ethical standards.
We foster respect and recognition for our employees, volunteers and our members and donors.
We will become the imaginative centre of our city and province, reflecting our diverse and dynamic setting. We will enhance our international profile as a leading cultural destination and innovative partner in the celebration of art, forging a new model for art museums.
1. To build and preserve one of North America’s great art collections, achieved through depth and distinctiveness in specific areas.
2. To engage visitors through a compelling and innovative museum experience.
3. To contribute to knowledge and lead in the development and the communication of new ideas about art, artists and museum practices.
4. To build a distinctive public profile for the Transformed AGO.
5. To create a strong and aligned organizational culture.
6. To strengthen our financial resources.]
National Gallery of Art (Washington DC): is dedicated “to preserving, collecting, exhibiting, and fostering the understanding of works of art.”
Getty Museum (J. Paul Getty Center): seeks to “delight, inspire, and educate the public by acquiring, conserving, studying, exhibiting, and interpreting works of art.”
Ensuring that visitors are surrounded by works of art, "at the highest quality," these processes also give rise to a particular view of the museum as an "object of reflection, contemplation, and discussion” (107).
[A]rt museums typically have other missions that are actively, if insidiously implemented through processes of representation (re-presentation), socialization, institutionalization, and commodification. The museum functions as a "socializing institution," that both represents and presents cultural assumptions, as well as social and aesthetic values […]. These processes succeed in establishing an "ideology of aesthetic autonomy — the compartmental conception of fine art that segregates it to the separate realm of the museum." Simultaneously, they present "ideology in material form." The museum itself is a representation that tends to take on an independent and ultimately self-reflecting existence. Through processes of representation and commodification, the spectacular museum is constructed as a frame that influences the public perception of art and society. Moreover, this ideological frame influences how the public experiences constructs of time and place, and how it comes to know about art in relation to the real world (107).
Museum as Sacred Grove or Temple: (characteristics: quiet, calm, passive action, valuable objects of reverence, exposition and repository space, “cultural sphere” that distances art from daily life and differentiates it from more popular forms of culture.) VS. Museum as Open Forum: (characteristics: space for dialogue, interaction, invigorating exchange of ideas and experiences, multi-vocal, interdisciplinarity.)
Conservation and Community (Alternative Museum Processes): theory into practice
• alternative museum approaches whose mission is implemented through active visitor participation in processes of conversation and community. • “connective aesthetics […] is based in vigorously active and impassioned engagement that would restore art’s connectedness with the world” What is needed is a free and open space that allows for people to construct and contextualize meanings about art through the community-building process of dialogue (115). • site specific exhibitions: projects that do not fit philosophically or physically in the museum, as a means to “integrate art into a process of living” (115). • a space for the alternative museum inside the traditional museum does exist provided that this is a dialogical space in which dynamic processes of making meaning and building relationships are facilitated in community (constructivist epistemology) (116). • alternative museums epistemology is concerned with the construction of knowledge (connection, dialogue, social interaction, interpretation) within a group context: local/global communities (community discourse) (116).
“Engagement is understood as developing and exploring the relations between the concepts, activities, persons, and institutions that are separated in a Cartesian epistemology. The engaged community is able to overcome the dualisms of object/subject, theory/practice, knowing/doing, and art/real world. In an engaged community, diverse members have shifted their "ideal of knowledge as correspondence between mind and form to a conception of knowing as a process of human relationship." Museum as community, then, conceives of knowing and learning as a process of "human relationship." This process also implements the museum's mission, which is to empower students and teachers to make meaningful connections to art and each other through dialogue and discourse” (116).
New Genre Public Education. Gaye Green. Art Journal, Spring (1999) v58 i1 p.80 (4).
Social Transformation through Community Interaction: [artistic production and the role of the museum]
“Consider what would transpire if the goal of [artistic] production were to
effectively engage audiences in dialogue that demystified artistic processes,
incorporates audience input, and seeks cultural transformation.”
“Interacting with the community with works that both edify and engage, community-based education focuses on social issues such as gender, class, race, and sexual
orientation. Supplanting modernist-inspired pedagogy that trained artists for the pursuit of personal authorship, rethinking studio curricula to include socially relevant content
encourages the merger between art and life, contemporary theory and pedagogy, and, more specifically, between artist and audience.”
New Genre Public Art Education:
Two basic criteria guide new genre public art education - the research and
artistic representation of social issues in works that interact with the
community in both large- and small-scale projects. The following categories,
based on those Lucy Lippard presents in her essay "Looking Around: Where We
Are, Where We Could Be," describe ten possible genres that such instruction
1. Indoor Exhibitions: Shows held in traditional and nontraditional venues
2. Outdoor Exhibitions: Shows held in traditional and nontraditional public
3. Pedagogic Interactive: Work created specifically for curricular purposes
4. Performance Art: Live art that relates to cultural or historical issues
5. Didactic Art: Work that educates the public regarding local or national
public occurrences and events.
6. Exhibit Specific: Projects inspired by specific gallery, museum, or
formally organized art shows.
7. Portable Public Access: Works featured in radio or television broadcasts,
mail art, artist's books, comics, or posters.
8. Intercultural Exchanges: Actions that involve national or international
9. Community Liaisons: Artistic endeavors that relate two or more specific
institutions such as the relationship between an elementary school and a
10. Indoor Public Installations: Permanent indoor installations, often
representing the historical and social configuration of particular
• new genre public art education is pedagogy that responds to contemporary concerns and functions as social activism. With the potential for critical thinking, social action, and broadening of the canon, new genre public art education challenges the “cliché of the pristine, socially removed art object” by propelling [the viewer] into society and pedagogy into the political arena.
|he brings me tulips
||[Feb. 26th, 2005|04:32 pm]
what to say. he is deleriously wonderful.|
its amazing how sometimes you need to learn the hardest lessons before you can accept happiness in your life.
aside from having a wonderful man in my life, i am a stress case. my thesis is due in about 1 month and i have so much work to do on it. mike is taking me to new york in a few weeks, (for valentines day) and i am sooo excited, we are staying in the W, and we are going to be sooo hot. in april we are going to roma. ROMA! amazing. he brings me tulips.
||most recent entries