Final Crit

At the end of its constructed I knew there would be conflict with the physicality and the social aspect of the environment. In my theorizing, they exist in the same space of consideration but the weight of the piece was being fought for by the two. There were bridges made between elements in the environment, and between the list, the performer, and the participants, but not as clearly between those systems.

I wanted an embodiment of the tension between real and fictitious. A space that embodies the feeling of the categories, but together is arbitrarily placed.

The swamp was clearly not a swamp; this fictitious claim of containment in a manmade vessel is constructed and accepted in conversation such as the placement of the participants in their taxonomies.

There’s inundation of concept when both the borges and the swamp exist together, but there’s absence when only one exists. The swamp feels static and passive without an activating behavior, and list seems contextless without an environment. I’m unsure how to resolve this.

One idea for idealization is to immensely lengthen the experience of existing and interacting in the space. More time, more context, more possibility in the space might allow for a less rushed understanding. The process for receiving a classification is lengthened. Perhaps strangers can come into the space, spend time with the host, and be assigned a category through their interactions. People may come and go as they please, but hopefully relationships will be forged during the time passed.

I’m so grateful for the response from my peers. It was wonderful to hear how so many bonded with their classification through their perceptions of self, or projection of such at least. Bella described to me how she thought I knew a secret about her. This idea connects to the considerations of language that went into making the piece. The words themselves are strewn together, removed from their surroundings, but are sliced and reconstructed and loosely applied to whatever they will stick to. Language can function like this. I barely know any of my classmates. It’s only the way they speak, their posture, their facial expressions which inform me enough to pull judgment from somewhere.

Every one began asking why I gave them their cards and I wasn’t prepared to give an articulated reasoning. I have reasoning, certainly, but never pieced together the words or examples in my head.

Roya explained how each person related to their category and how intuitively she understood why they made sense.

It’s heartwarming to see Carrie unravel and react. She thinks and feels viscerally, deriving great joy from existing, experiencing others exist, and observing feeling.

Anyways, enough gushing about my classmates whom I do not know very well at all.

The swamp without the list causes physical engagement to overwhelm consideration of intellectual challenge? People want to experience it and this becomes the piece. This is a problem with “interactive” art. i.e. Olafur elliason’s weather project. Necessary non-activity.

I want to continue with the exploration of language as a means of environmental/social abstraction. Or abstraction of language as a means of social understanding or inversion of such.

I had a good time making this.


The conversation regarding teaching and understanding abstraction/abstracted thoughts shaped the arc of my thinking for my final.

I am creating an environment/performance in which to explore the nature of representation, particularly in language. Kubler’s Shape of Time heavily influenced my interest in the replication of sound in my last piece. I’m now expanding the direction of the work to consider replication of thing into an image, representation of a thing in physical space and in language, and the lingual blur between fact and fiction. I’m interested in the conversation that has developed (in our class) of language and its intrinsic inability to create precise definitions and exact comprehension, but it’s success even through ambiguity.

Images/representations are criticized for inability to produce interaction and experience, but what new iteration of experience is created in image culture?

experience of a thing vs. an image

experience of a representation of a thing


The space:

I’m creating a swamp as a small community space. In the center there is a small wooden pool of water, algae, plants. It’s an agreeable temperature. Participants can hang their feet in the water if they please. This iteration sits somewhere between an image and representation of a “swamp,” out of context, but with descriptive similarities. Perhaps images and representations are the same.

There’s a ladder to the window. I’ll open the blinds. This is the “true” sky. On the wall there is a large projection of a changing skyscape. How do these experiences change especially when observing something so physically inaccessible?

The performance:

Jorge Luis Borges wrote an essay called “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins,” in which he criticizes John Wilkins concept of a “universal language,” where Wilkins proposes a system of more or less objective language holding exact meaning in the word itself.

“Wilkins’s system decomposes the entire universe of “things and notions” into successively smaller divisions and subdivisions, assigning at each step of this decomposition a syllable, consonant, or vowel. Wilkins intended for these conceptual building blocks to be recombined to represent anything on earth or in heaven. The basic example Borges gives is “de, which means an element; deb, the first of the elements, fire; deba, a part of the element of fire, a flame.”

Borges sees this as a fundamental impossibility.

“it is clear that there is no classification of the Universe not being arbitrary and full of conjectures.”

In this essay, Borges describes a translated Chinese list that seeks to describe all animals. It’s later revealed that this is entirely fictional and that he lied about finding this translation. He is suggesting that regardless of the attempted universality, language is, in a way, an arbitrary manner of socially organizing the world.

I am not positing this as correct or incorrect, just as a curious thought. I want to assign my classmates into these categories. During their time in the passive environment dealing with the same questions, I’ll give them their category, based on how I perceive them.

The list is ambiguous and nonsensical. Such is language, and somehow it’s easy to make some sense, and garner some feeling from many words, especially when applied to the self. The reason why I pair each individual with their category could be analyzed through my own thoughts, but is likely not based in rationality.

If they are unhappy with their classification, they can trade. They should trade. In addition to abstract extraction of meaning from this list, it’s exciting for me to see how¬†I perceive the Other vs. how they perceive themselves. They might then consider how the Other considered them in their own reflection/perception of self.


Response to Crit 3


***I wrote this and the last few posts a long time ago and thought they were published but I guess I was clicking “save” instead of publish ūüė¶ Sorry

The arc of the piece took a slight but significant turn, and most participants noted the new conversation that was formed from the immediacy. The work was initially supposed to delay hours after the initial creation of noise, allowing borrowed time to be present in the atmosphere. Anxiety, distance, and distortion would be present. Here, the anxiety was nearly unnoticeable, fleeting, and overtaken by excitement of when and where the echo would occur.

This is what most comments I received were discussing. This work was a distortion of space rather than a distortion of time. There was a constant deconstruction and reconstruction of arbitrary slices of the room, rearranging them much to the participants curiosity. The collective curation and creation of a community soundscape felt exciting, but also lighthearted; I believe the word “kind” was used.

Everyone mentioned gratification; the search, the anticipation, and the instability of finding one’s own voice in the midst. One’s own voice is lost in rearrangement.

This soundscape was specific to this configuration of individuals. This iteration was described as “primitive,” “animalistic”

I do not want my work to remain in a realm of call and response interactivity. That sort of work often falls prey to sole dependence on the audience, who often turn to play rather than observation and consideration. Conversations surrounding the delay and the ownership of voice do not evaporate, but are not active in these contexts. Longer delays would reduce this immediacy that encourages play.

Many people’s perceptions seemed influenced by the title, citing a disconnection between behavior and reaction, ambiguity of memory, and ownership of memory.

“giving us a memory”

I’m interested in the building of the soundscape, and potentially the rising and crashing of this layered noise.

I am meditating again on replication as artificiality; the repeated transmission of a sound is not the sound itself. Digitization creates new bodies.

“It reminded me of a chamber”

Liz Magic Laser and Thomas Hirschhorn

Liz Magic Laser offers exaggerated transformation of authoritarian powers into mundane, everyday behaviors.

We’re all sheep.

This sort of assertion is not deprecating nor dismissive of individuality. There’s power in the oneness of the human, necessarily communality, lack of inherently hierarchical systems.

The discussion regarding Thomas Hirschhorn’s “Everyone is an intellectual” was especially pressing to me. Issues of intellectual elitism vs. the universal potency of education. This claim, while attempting to socially equate individuals, also potentially posits intellectualism as the ultimate power as well as making a dangerous claim dismissing individual obstacles.


Audre Lorde and Illana Harris-Babou

Reading about Lorde’s perception of the erotic immediately reminded me of the critique in Society of the Spectacle. Pornography acts as a symbol of the erotic, both casting image as representation, and remove the accessibility of the erotic for consumption in everyday life. Instead, the erotic should be considered as the allowance and experience of necessary hedonism; the enveloping pleasure of individual desire.

The erotic posited solely as sexuality relegates intensity and feeling to a forcibly hidden environment. This environment is shamed and singular.

When we look the other way from our experience, erotic or otherwise, we use rather than share the feelings of those others who participate in the experience with us. And use without consent of the used is abuse

“Use” of the Other rather than shared feeling of such.

Illana’s cooking show allowed an interestingly vicarious experience of pleasure through cooking sensations. The presentation mimicked the sensory appeal of such spectacles, with close up shots describing visceral textures/sound, but abstracted into edible amalgamations.

Project 3

I want to create a multitude of interactions centering around precariousness and hesitation, truth and distance.
For now, I want to keep form ambiguous in my own thoughts. Form is indeterminate; form does not define. Not unimportant, but specific.¬†Unsure of how it’s should be used.
1. Perhaps a fabric-thing, a textile. Adorned so that both sides, the verso and the recto, are active, uncomfortably so. It’s unclear as to what the history of its use is and what it is to be used for now. Some kind of hammock?
2. An smooth object with a destructive tool. Participants are contextually instructed to break it but will not be told explicitly to do so. They will perhaps hesitate because of the preciousness of singularity and perfection. The weight is in the decision.
3. A delayed capturing of sound. Participants’ speech or action is recorded, but played back significantly later. Similar to the Dan Graham piece where this was done with video on a one minute delay.¬†That piece spoke greatly to the subversion of video’s immediacy as a medium. I want to speak about death of an experience and the birth of a replica. Distance and distortion created by time. Memories as replications.

The Shape of Time

Prime Object vs. Replica. Akin to the ways in which language is formed solely through analogy. Copies of words and phrases Рthrough time and culture Рare generated until a system of meaning is understood. These copies cannot, inherently, replicate the original. There is no original. The system is constructed through relative perceptions rather than objectives. Indeterminateness.

Reminds of Warhol’s themes of repetition and the individuality of the copy. Each copy, even when produced through means of precise replication, has a unique existence.

The dead star is an index. A trace of what was what; an effectively literal example of the immediacy of remnant. **I like this subject matter.

Our interest therefore centers upon minute portions of things’ rather than upon the whole mosaic of traits that constitutes any object.

Yet the Parthenon is built upon an archaic formula surviving into Periclean time.

Prime-ness breaks down under consideration of its individual parts of construction.

These three examples, however, are extremely special ones illustrating the phenomenon of the climactic entrant<. Such entrances occur at moments when the combinations and permutations of a game are all in evidence to the artist; at a moment when enough of the game has been played for him to behold its full potential; at a moment before he is constrained by the exhaustion of the possibilities of the game to adopt any of its extreme terminal positions.

The prime object owns itself and its compositional sequencing

The manuscript draft by the puzzle-maker is a prime object (which no one conserves); all the solutions in ~ subways and on the desks of people who “kill time” compose ( the replica-mass.

An important question arises at once. If, in a given sequence an initial prime object begins the connected series, why are the subsequent prime objects of the series not to be regarded .. replica”

This pinpoints difficult in assuming ontological origin of any aspect of a thing.

Here the “new critics” held chat the poet’s intention does not extenuate his performance, and that all criticism must be within the poem itself regardless of its historical and biographical conditions.

Wow so post structuralist.

The name of art is itself close to technical cunning.¬†¬†Referencing greek origin? No differentiation between art and technology. Consider the most basic definitions of technology, and especially the “tool.”

Technical deviation has high potential to generate new sequence in an object. Organizations, sequences, arrangements form hierarchical relationships in objecthood and visual culture.


Question the origin of the object itself.

Simulacrums exist everywhere. Take the banana for example, or any object with biology for that matter. Where its the beginning of its existence? What is a cast, of a preexisting object, besides a deviation from an existing replica. A new series of mimetic objects. A series might be made distinct by material means, processual means, formulaic means.

When error is introduced in the process of replication, one would likely continue to copy from the non-mutated version. If, then, one might generate replicas using the mutated form, and continue to do so when new variations emerge, conversations emerge surrounding integrity, principality of a thing. When do deviates disallow categorizations back into its original classification?

Axiological variation when considering the prime/replica relationship: elevation of the replica. IN DEFENSE OF THE POOR IMAGE BY HITO STEYERL. SUPER RELEVANT. Elevation by means of circulation, the commodity of the image suggested by technological accessibility.

Remnant collected on replica revealing of life and passage of time.

Repetition generates power, but of what? The actual object/concept being repeated/replicated, or the image of such? A thing cannot be copied exactly. Every physicality has differentiation. Is then, only the image, an abstracted idea of a thing, copied?

**Replication in the digital vs. the physical world