Sunday, 20 May 2012

Are We Asking For it?

by Mary Paterson

Are We Asking For It?  is a score for remote performance.  It's a pop song of questions, shouted at the top of your voice, to whoever is listening.  It is (not) a protest and it is (not) part of the global Occupy movements.

I first wrote the score as Getting to Know You, for I'm with you: Occupy London, an evening of performances curated by I'm With You for the Bank of Ideas, at the Occupy London protest camp in December 2011.

Like the original, Are We Asking For It? is a performance score for three people.  The three performers are passers by or audience members invited to read the score - a series of questions that should be read (or shouted) in three minutes: the length of the average pop song.  It has been written for Occupy Zeitgest, an exhibition about the global Occupy movements, which is taking place at Gallery 25 in Fresno, California in June 2012, curated by Janice Ledgerwood.

The relationship between live art and protest movements in Europe and the US stretches back to the early 20th century, when Dada and Futurist performances were used as strategies of radical disruption.   Contemporary protest groups like UK Uncut use live art as a form of direct action against government policy.  Art in all its forms is an important part of the worldwide Occupy movements, which rely on the rapid spread of ideas through social networks as well as traditional media channels.

What are the currencies of artistic strategies in the context of protest?  What kind of participation does artistic protest demand, and who is participating?  Are avant garde strategies aligned to forms of radical individualism, or collective action?

Extract from Are We Asking For it? 
Do you like to stand too close to people on purpose?
Do you prefer conversation, fashion or physical comfort?
Can you bear the sound of other people breathing?
Do you think it is warmer in cities?
If you saw me crying on public transport, would you offer to help?
How many people do you need to make you feel anonymous?
What is keeping you?
What is keeping you here?
Are you asking for it?
Are you asking for it now?

About Gallery 25
Formed in 1974, Gallery 25 is one of the oldest cooperative galleries in the country. Located in downtown Fresno, the gallery has been a forum for contemporary art since its inception.

The gallery was founded by Joyce Aiken, professor of art at California State University, Fresno. Professor Aiken was the director of the second Feminist Art program (the first program was created by Judy Chicago at CSUF in 1970). The program focused on women creating artwork from their experience as women. By establishing the gallery, Aiken gave the women in the program the chance to exhibit their work to the public and gain professional experience as artists.

The 25 founding members began exhibiting at 1986 Echo Street, moving to a larger space at 1526 Fullton Street in 1981. The gallery opened its doors to men as well as women in 1989. To expand its quarters in April of 2004, the gallery moved to its present location, 660 Van Ness, adjacent to several other galleries and artist studios.

Gallery 25 is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public. Seminars, discussion groups and classes are held in relation to exhibits. The gallery also participatges in international exhibitions and gallery exchanges.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

In The Presence of Multiple Possibilities

By Rachel Lois

I have been invited to contribute to an exhibition/ publication by Ordinary Culture, as part of the exhibition In The Presence of Multiple Possibilities at French Riviera, London

My contribution entitled ? MARK (Question Mark Mark) takes the form of five discrete A5 elements interspersed across the publication. Each A5 page is a pared down, poetic piece that offers a definite speculation, a wayward marker and ultimately a question mark mark. 

Background to the exhibition
In The Presence of Multiple Possibilities combines sculpture, video, performance and publication to draw attention to, and attempt to manifest, the discrepancy between predicted future and actual outcome.

The exhibition brings together eight artists who explore the complex contingencies of translation, spontaneity, prediction and speculation. Either creating a structure for a continued development or deliberately leaving a work incomplete or uncertain, their works provide a space for the contemplation of multiple possible outcomes. Whether durational or static, all of the works hint towards their role in a longer trajectory. The project will include new commissions by Kimi Conrad, Matthew Noel-Tod and a commissioned publication by collective Ordinary Culture (formerly YH485). Ordinary Culture’s contribution to the project explores the publication as incomplete and subject-to-change, encouraging the participation of the audience in the materialisation of the exhibition’s legacy. 

Organised by MA Curating Contemporary Art students at the Royal College of Art, the project is funded by Arts Council England through Wysing Arts Centre’s Escalator Programme.