2016 October: What is Practice? Seminar

My first task on my MA is to prepare answers to a series of questions for an upcoming seminar. Here are my answers to questions about practice:

A. What artworks have influenced you?

Cinema, Pop & Theatre influences: Barbarella, Don Quixote, 3 Musketeers, Cyrano de Bergerac, Kubrick (2001), Pina Bausch, Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Kurosawa (Dreams), theatre of the absurd and Samuel Beckett, Dario Fo, Gilda, Queen of the Night Aria (The Magic Flute), Ingmar Bergman, Nina Simone, certain Serbian folk songs and mid 20th century pop songs, David Bowie, Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Concerto

Speculative Fiction & Philosophical works: Frankenstein: the New Prometheus, Orwell’s 1984, Flatland, comic books like Winsor McCay’s Nemo in Slumberland, Maus, Victorian etchings, Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes, Rembrandt’s etchings. Books by Milan Kundera, Alfred Gell, Douglas Hoftstader, Derrida, Deleuze, Karen Barad, Claire-Louise Bennett, Alice Munroe,

Artists: Hedwig Houben, Lucy Beech, Daria Martin, Susan Hiller, Pierre Huyghe, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Cézanne, Lucas Blalock, Mouchette, Sheila Hicks, Emma Cocker,

B. What are your criteria for deciding whether a work is ‘good’?

That I admire what the process of making must have felt like.

That something invisible yet ubiquitous and characteristically current to me becomes conspicuous.

That the images or stories suggested become an experimental cloak which I as viewer can try on myself.

Often I am drawn to work that hypothesises, that does not make arguments or campaign for a particular view. Instead, viewpoints are offered, and positioning one’s self in relation to these viewpoints can be difficult. These works are speculative. Sometimes they are being specific about something terribly ambiguous and irreconcilable.

C. What kind of work do you dislike?

Works that set out with an agenda somewhat repel me. Work that presupposes its purpose. I like works that don’t presuppose themselves. Art has the capability of producing novelty, but that is not likely if the result of process is controlled. That being said, I do not dismiss work that is deeply structured, premeditated and predictive, etc. Just work that is not interested in being surprised by itself.

D. What do you want art to do for you?

They are not driven by questions, but repeating familiar statements. I want art to locate questions within me I didn’t know existed, yet which somewhere find a natural place in me. Work driven by questions probes possibilities potentially unexplored before, which is what is interesting. For us Westerners, it is particularly interesting to note how this creative exploration is attributable to an open ended art practice as a creative system, rather than genius origins.

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