Sunday, 24 February 2013

International Art English Exposed

click here to go to source
A user's guide to artspeak: Andy Beckett The Guardian, Sunday 27 January 2013 19.00 GMT 

"Why do so many galleries use such pompous, overblown prose to describe their exhibits? Well, there's now a name for it: International Art English [IAE]. And you have to speak it to get on. Andy Beckett enters the world of waffle ... The Simon Lee Gallery in Mayfair is currently showing work by the veteran American artist Sherrie Levine. A dozen small pink skulls in glass cases face the door. A dozen small bronze mirrors, blandly framed but precisely arranged, wink from the walls. In the deep, quiet space of the London gallery, shut away from Mayfair's millionaire traffic jams, all is minimal, tasteful and oddly calming.

Until you read the exhibition hand-out. "The artist brings the viewer face to face with their own preconceived hierarchy of cultural values and assumptions of artistic worth," it says. "Each mirror imaginatively propels its viewer forward into the seemingly infinite progression of possible reproductions that the artist's practice engenders, whilst simultaneously pulling them backwards in a quest for the 'original' source or referent that underlines Levine's oeuvre."
If you've been to see contemporary art in the last three decades, you will probably be familiar with the feelings of bafflement, exhaustion or irritation that such gallery prose provokes" ... Click here to read this article
All this is not a phenomena confined to the High Art venues of  London, New York, Paris, Berlin etc. .... Its just as prevalent in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and even Darwin. Sometimes IAE is applied to Aboriginal art and when you read it you might wonder where has all the 'placedness' gone? 
International English by itself tends to be disempowering when it blends-in and blands-down the vernacular wherever it is used. The project, seemingly somewhat imperial by nature, is predisposed to the 'Englishness' implying some kind of hegemonic authority in operation from elsewhere. When it is applied to cultural production it seems we enter even deeper water.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Colonial Gaze via QR Codes

click here to make the link if you
 do not have a SMARTphone to hand 

Dr David Hansen [1] wrote to us saying “I found a desk note when I had an idle 10 mins., and offer the following as a possible start for a review of images of the place Tasmania”.

We did ask David to think about it and we followed his advice. First up we GOOGLED the 30 images he suggested. 

The thing is that all the images are by-and-large available in the public domain and on the Internet – and in a variety of contexts

Yet seven IMAGEsearches led to a DEADend. However, some of the DEADends are in the process of being ‘unblocked’.

Interestingly, the GOOGLEsurf – arguably almost any  such search – alerts the ‘surfer’ to all kinds of subtexts and interpretations – sometimes contentious imaginings. In turn the surfing often provides a new – or at the very least other – layering’s of cultural insights and other information. 

But does one follow that idea to somewhere interesting? If one were to take the conventionally 'ethical' course we'd still be looking for permission to publish.

However, enter stage left the now somewhat ubiquitous QRcode (Quick Response Code) which offered us, it seems, an opportunity to share the surfing. Which in turn, also allows our co-surfers to draw their own conclusions, make their own observation and imagine their own stories.  Enjoy the CYBERjourney back and forth through time!