Interview with LACMA’s Amy Heibel on the Art and Technology Program
“[A]ny technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes.”
- Marshall McLuhan
Robert Irwin and James Turrell. Photograph © Malcolm Lubliner
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) recently announced the revival of its seminal Art + Technology Lab on the heels of the New Museum’s launch of an Incubator for Art, Technology, and Design. LACMA’s original Art and Technology (A&T) program ran from 1967 through 1971 under the direction of Maurice Tuchman, and paired major artists from the United States and Europe such as Claes Oldenberg, Robert Irwin, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg, with companies such as the Rand Corporation, Garrett Corporation, Disney Corporation, and Cowles Communication.The A&T program culminated in an exhibition of the artworks at the US Pavillion at the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan, and finally in 1971 in the Art and Technology exhibition at LACMA.
The A&T program was one of many events, exhibitions, and artist-in-residence programs organized throughout the 1960s and 1970s with the aim of problematizing the distinction between art and technology. These infamous historic events include E.A.T.’s 9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering at the 69th Regiment Armory in 1966, Jasia Reichardt’s Cybernetic Serendipity at the ICA London in 1968, Pontus Hulton’s The Machine at the End of the Mechanical Age at the Museum of Modern Art in 1968, and Jack Burnham’s Software at the Jewish Museum in 1970, as well as artist-in-residence programs at Bell Laboratories and Xerox PARC.
The particular set of socio-economic conditions that gave rise to these early initiatives in the United States and Europe, however, are no longer at play for these new programs. Current modes of authorship and communication, the level of sophistication of advanced technology, and changes within the economic landscape have acted to transform the fundamental parameters guiding what it means to bring artists, technologists, and scientists together in collaborative partnerships.
In its new iteration, LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab will collaborate with Google, SpaceX, NVIDIA, DAQRI, and Accenture, as well as an advisory board of artists and scholars such as Ken Goldberg, Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at the University of California, Berkeley. The first call for proposals announced grants of up to $50,000 and in-kind donations from technological partners.
The deadline for the current open call is January 27, 2014.
I spoke with Amy Heibel, Associate VP for Technology and Digital Media at LACMA, on December 23, 2013 about some of the aims in reviving the program, the renewed interest in art and technology programs, and the challenges facing the current program.
Read the full article on Contemporary Performance
January 16 2014
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Xavier Le Roy: Observer Effects & Embodiment
In 1999, Xavier Le Roy first presented Product of Circumstance, a lecture-performance that recounts his career change from a molecular biologist to a dancer (there is an interesting NYTimes review of the lecture-performance.)
In the first half of the performance he talks about his feelings of uncertainty while conducting scientific experiments on cancer cells in human tissue, lending a surprisingly subjective perspective to the concept of the observer effect that often feels theoretical and remote from lived experience:
"I remember that even for a very experienced researcher, it was sometimes difficult to make a clear and objective decision about which of the numerous existing categories the observed tissue belonged to. I remember that looking into the microscope I very often had the feeling that while I was observing, I was at the same time transforming what I was observing. I had the feeling that my decisions were subject to influence, and I felt every decision actually challenged my objectivity."
Later, in the lecture-performance, after he has made the transition from science to dance he begins to reflect on the question of embodied knowledge: “Performing these movements was about inscribing something or encoding something which could be described as a go between mind and body, seen as a moving entity. It was a way to work on the mind/body opposition and on the idea that just as the mind organizes the rest of the body’s tissues into life forces, sensations and perceptions to a large degree organize the mind. Sensations and perceptions do not simply give the mind material to organize, they are themselves a major organizing principle. But I don’t think that dance is reduced to handle the questions about sensations and perceptions. I think it has a much larger field of action.”
I quote these passages at length, because it is important to let Le Roy’s words have their full run. Both concepts I have long sat with: I organized the Observer Effects lecture series at EMPAC that ran over three years, and the study of embodied experience has been the central driving question of my curatorial practice for over a decade now. So I was quite happy to see the two meet on Le Roy’s stage. In a way it is not surprising that these two should be raised in the same story, for both have at their core the entanglement and mutual influence of the self and the world.
August 22 2013
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Held in Trust: Indeterminate Forms
On Wednesday, July 17th, I will be participating in a talk with artist Allison Berkoy at Residency Unlimited at 7 pm. We will discuss Berkoy’s interactive installations in relation to the notion of polyopia, a medical disorder of multi-vision. This discussion is as part of the Held in Trust project, a series of interviews and discussions with artists, curators and theorists around the tacit trust between the viewer and the artist, drawn out in participatory, performative and interactive works. Please join us! The full event text follows.
Held in Trust: Indeterminate Forms
Wednesday, July 17th at 7 pm
This discussion continues a two-year research project and series of interviews led by curator Emily Zimmerman, focusing on the role of trust in artistic practices that test the boundaries between installation, performance, and participatory art. Works that move nimbly between performance and installation challenge viewers to operate outside of known codes for behavior. These situations are often riddled with an anxiety of participation, placing pressure on the tacit trust between the viewer and the artist.
In this talk, artist Allison Berkoy and Zimmerman will confront a hybridized terrain called forth in Berkoy’s interactive installations, and explore the unique opportunities and limitations in creating environments that are driven by ambiguity and unresolved multiplicity. Berkoy’s multidisciplinary forms draw heavily on her background in theater, and position the spectator within an ever shifting set of relations on multiple scales. In the course of the evening, they will discuss Berkoy’s work through the notion of polyopia, defined medically as a disordered perceptual experience of multi-vision, suggested through Berkoy’s work as a “re-ordered conceptual experience of additive uncertainty.”
Allison Berkoy is a New York based artist circling between mixed-media installation, performance, and projected image. Her hybrid spectacles have appeared inside galleries, music venues, theater stages, eateries, garages, a train caboose, and a salvaged lightship. Berkoy received an MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Integrated Electronic Arts, an MA in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and graduated from Northwestern University’s Theatre program. She has taught at Pratt Institute and New York City College of Technology (CUNY).
Images courtesy of the artist
July 2 2013
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In October of 2011, I organized a launch event for The Eternal Return film series, with a screening of Chris Marker’s La Jetée two short films inspired by it, and by a lecture by Keith Sanborn on the relationship between Nietzsche’s concept of the eternal recurrence and the structure of time in Chris Marker’s La Jetée. For the lecture, Keith reached out to Chris Marker directly with some queries about La Jetée, and included Marker’s responses in the lecture. Above is the documentation of the full lecture.
For more on the event, see: http://empac.rpi.edu/events/2011/fall/eternal-return/time-and-time-again
For more on the Eternal Return film series, see:
April 12 2013
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Johannes Goebel lecture
On Thursday, March 21st, at 7 pm Johannes Goebel will give a talk entitled Speaking So To Speak at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in conjunction with So To Speak. Please join us!
SPEAKING SO TO SPEAK
Thursday, March 21st | 7PM | Free
At The Arts Center of the Capital Region | 265 River Street, Troy NY
A talk about how words and art are bonded and yet separate.
The point of departure for this talk: without language there is no art. And: art is not congruent with language. And: certainly art can be made with words. This talk will be many words about words to create a view of what is beyond that, which is said.
Once there was language, there was religion. Art, any kind of art, was only possible once we had language and were wondering about the meaning of life. Art can be a sword that cuts through language. Art can let us experience that there is something beyond language, beyond right and wrong, beyond yesterday and tomorrow.
There is a lot of talking and thinking before art is made. There is a lot of speaking after experiencing art. There is a lot of past and a lot of future outside of an artwork, which in turn shapes how the work appears and approaches us and how we approach it. A work of art can only be alive in the moment when we experience it. Language is always good for past and future. When we talk or write and reflect and ponder on art, we are outside of the experience. Which is just fine – but different.
And then there is a new experience with art we visited before, and maybe a new work of art evoking old or new experiences. And then we talk, as audience and as artists. And then the artist makes new art and we (hopefully) go and visit it, take it in together with others who share the presence of the experience and rip the piece of art out of the words before and after. And put it back into past and future by talking about it.
image: Hollis Frampton, Poetic Justice, 1972
16mm, b/w, silent, 32 minutes
Courtesy of Anthology Film Archives and the estate of Hollis Frampton
March 12 2013
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Attention Upstate Filmmakers
Call for submissions for the Collar City Film Festival Vol. 2
Submission deadline: April 30th, 2013 at Midnight
Event date: Troy Night Out, May 31st at 9 pm
Location: Outdoor screening in the former location of Troy City Hall
Collar City Film Festival is seeking submissions of short films to be presented on the evening of Friday, May 31st, as an outdoor screening in the lot formerly occupied by Troy City Hall, demolished in 2011. Films will be screened onto a mobile cinema created by We Are Architects.
Films will be part of the second edition of the Collar City Film Festival, a platform for film and video artists working in the greater capital region and Hudson Valley. We are requesting films 25 minutes or less in length. All submissions should be in a web viewable format. Please submit video via direct link to:
Notifications will be sent out by May 15th.
March 2 2013
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So To Speak at the Arts Center
So To Speak will be opening at the Arts Center of the Capital Region this Friday, January 25th, from 5 - 9 pm featuring the work of Leona Christie, Paula Gaetano Adi, Hollis Frampton, Melinda McDaniel, Fernando Orellana, and Klub Zwei.
What, precisely, does it mean to say a picture is worth a thousand words? A truism often reiterated in our image-saturated culture, the idea that images outpace words in their communicative potential and economy of expression drives the logic behind much contemporary cultural production. What assumptions are encapsulated within that cliché? And when that weary saying is mobilized, what is left out of the picture, so to speak?
An exhibition that creates an encounter between visual and verbal forms of representation, So to Speak brings together artists’ work that weighs the difference between these two forms of expression, reflecting on the faults, slippages, and tensions that arise when representing images with words. So to Speak presents artworks that question the status of the photographic image as a purveyor of truth, and the pervasiveness of still and moving images within the current visual regime.
The exhibition’s title itself points to the act of rephrasing, “so to speak” having originated in the early 1800’s as an apology for the use of the vernacular to reiterate an idea. In each of the works by Leona Christie, Hollis Frampton, Paula Gaetano Adi, Melinda McDaniel, Fernando Orellana, and Klub Zwei, verbal accounts unfold to transmit imagery. This scenario is not unlike our own sensorial development where we come to know the world first through sight, and only learn to speak long after we have had a visual understanding of our environment.
Leona Christie’s print series enumerate changes made between editions of
Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, obsessively clocking minute differences recalled through her brother’s austic savant memory.
A book, The Richard Scarry Projects was produced in conjunction with the exhibition: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/pb748efae8063530b0df3
Paula Gaetano Adi’s ongoing performance piece pica, begins with the intimate gesture of the artist consuming a word from the English/Spanish
dictionary, a performance she began upon moving to the United States. A video and the dictionary itself, stand as testaments to this ongoing performance.
Hollis Frampton’s Poetic Justice (1972) is a 31‐minute film, which Frampton referred to as a cinema of the mind, is narrated by a series of sheets of written text describing each scene.
Melinda McDaniel’s Movie Lines series depicts the short, one‐line descriptions of movies found in television programming menus to reflect absurd paraphrasing and present day attention spans.
Fernando Orellana’s Whale Ride is a recipe for all of the items that would be necessary to create a conceptual amusement ride through the belly of a blue whale from the point of view of a paramecium.
Klub Zwei’s film Black and White: The Back of the Images considers documentation from the Holocaust, taking into consideration the veracity of images that the viewer never sees.
January 24 2013
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3 AM: Public-Access Television Now
On Saturday, December 15th at 8 pm there will be an evening of talks and screenings on current uses of public-access television at Launchpad with Chris Gethard, of the Chris Gethard Show on MNN, visual artist and musician Jason Martin, who led the multi-media performance troupe Brown Cuts Neighbors out of Schenectady NY’s public-access television station (1989 – 2002), and E.S.P. TV a live taping/cable access broadcast on MNN network by Victoria Keddie and Scott Kiernan. And I’ll be speaking about the role of public-access in the development of experimental film and video in NY from the 1960s onwards. So join us, this one is not to be missed!!
3 AM: Public-Access Television Now
An evening devoted to current uses of public-access television, 3 AM: Public-Access Television Now is a discussion and screening led by Chris Gethard, Jason Martin and E.S.P. TV. Since the 1960’s, public-access television has played a crucial role in supporting alternative cultural currents from community based programming and guerrilla tv to experimental film and video. Comedian and television host Chris Gethard, visual artist and musician Jason Martin, and the experimental media collective E.S.P. TV will speak to the diverse forms that public access television supports, and its contemporary co-existence with online platforms.
Curated by Emily Zimmerman.
Chris Gethard is the host of The Chris Gethard Show on New York public access. He’s also the author of the book A Bad Idea I’m About to Do. He’s been seen on Conan and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and heard on This American Life. As an actor, he’s appeared in The Office, Louie, The Other Guys, and will be seen next year in Iron Man 3. He can be seen on many comedy stages throughout New York City, most notably his home base The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
Jason Martin is a visual artist and musician who makes animal-human hybrid videos, performances, drawings, photographs, as well as a variety of songs and sound-based works intersecting with this subject matter.
After years of operating outside academia, Jason went back to school and got his Master of Fine Arts degree at New York University in 2010. He comes from upstate New York, where he made art, music, curated events, ran music recording studios, and managed independent art/music spaces. With the help of a few close collaborators, Jason led multi-media performance troupe Brown Cuts Neighbors (1989 – 2002,) based out of Schenectady NY’s local Public Access television station, featuring countless members. Jason has exhibited videos internationally under his own name and as a member of groups, collectives, and under various aliases. He has an extensive history in community media and Public Access television as both a creator and teacher.
As a musician, in addition to building an extensive discography, Jason continues to perform live music solo, in bands, and with his own group THE JASON MARTIN ELECTRICAL BAND. He’s toured, recorded, or performed with a variety of acts including J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr), Suzanne Thorpe (Mercury Rev, Wounded Knees, thenumber46), His Name Is Alive, Devendra Banhart, Dan Deacon, Raphe Malik, The Bunnybrains, Lettuce Little, Denim and Diamonds, and many others.
E.S.P. TV is a nomadic showcase of primarily NYC-based experimental music, video art and performance, formed in January of 2011 out of Louis V E.S.P. and produced for Manhattan Neighborhood Network public television. In the summer of 2012, E.S.P. TV opened a new space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for production of the show, development of the E.S.P. LAB project, and a regular schedule of performances, screenings and special events.
Tapings of E.S.P. TV are in front of an audience with live green-screening, signal manipulation and analog video mixing. The entire night is recorded to VHS and edited into half hour episodes for airing on cable TV in New York City. After airing, the episodes are posted online at www.esptvnyc.com for later viewing.
E.S.P. TV has worked with various venues including: Present Company, The Schoolhouse, La Sala, 285 Kent, Vaudeville Park, Spectacle Theater and Roulette (Brooklyn, NY), Franklin Street Works (Stamford, CT), Liminal Space (Oakland), Queens Nails Projects (San Francisco), Millennium Film Workshop (New York City) as a part of INDEX Festival, Printed Matter (NYC), General Public (Berlin) and Pallas Projects (Dublin).
LaunchPad is a creative gathering place focused on the arts, community programs, technology, and anything else that captures the imagination
721 Franklin Avenue
Images courtesy of E.S.P. TV
December 4 2012
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Collar City Film Festival, Vol. 1
The Collar City Film Festival took place this past Saturday to an amazingly fun and lively crowd!
Enormous thanks to artists that contributed work: Andrew Lynn, Bart Woodstrup/Ryder Cooley, Blair Neil, Ryan Jenkins, Ethan Kaplan, Fernando Orellana, India Lombardi-Bello, Jason Martin, Jesse Stiles, Jim Hickcox, John Rodat, Misha Rabinovich, Nao Bustamante, Nathan Meltz, William Rodgers, Sam Sebren and Ryan Ross Smith who performed during the intermission! Enormous gratitude is due to my co-curators Ryan Jenkins and India Lombardi-Bello, and to Derek Sweeney-Kessler for designing the brochure, and taking the photographs you see below.
You can see the video footage from Ryan Ross Smith’s intermission performance here: https://vimeo.com/52857109
For the full set of photos, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/picatrix/sets/72157631935282422/
November 4 2012
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Calling all upstate filmmakers!
Submission deadline: October 17th, 2012
Event date: November 3rd, 2012
Location: 51 Third Street, Troy NY
We are seeking submissions of short films to be presented on the evening of November 3rd, 2012 at 51 Third Street in Troy, NY. Films will be part of the inaugural Collar City Film Festival, a platform for video artists working in the Greater Capital Region and Hudson Valley! We are requesting submissions of films 25 minutes or less.
Also, there is the opportunity for artists wishing to present a 10-minute performance piece during the intermission.
Please submit video via direct link to: Ryan [dot] T [dot] Jenkins [at] gmail [dot] com
All formats are welcome, but individuals will need to provide equipment and cabling outside of a standard setup of a projector, computer, and screen.
Curation of submissions:
Image credit: Peter Barvoets
September 28 2012
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Interview with Thom Kubli
I recently signed up to be a regional editor for Contemporary Performance. For my first piece, I interviewed Thom Kubli on his installation and performance work, Record Attempt, in which individuals can attempt the world’s longest guitar solo. Over dinner we talked about fame, capitalism, death and the archive.
Read the full piece here: http://contemporaryperformance.com/2012/09/07/interview-thom-kubli-germany/
Thom Kubli, Record Attempt, 2012
September 7 2012
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Documentation from Held in Trust
Images from the Held in Trust panel are up on Residency Unlimited’s Flickr page! Enormous thanks are due to Nathalie Anglés and Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria from Residency Unlimited, and the panelists - David Levine, Annie Dorsen, Irina Baldino, and Masako Matsushita - who made the conversation so thoughtful. I’ll post the audio once available!
August 27 2012
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Held in Trust Panel Discussion
On Tuesday, July 31st at 6:30 pm I will be moderating a panel discussion Held in Trust with David Levine, Annie Dorsen and Irina Baldini & Masako Matsushita at Residency Unlimited.
Works that move between performance and installation challenge viewers to operate outside of known codes for behavior. These situations are often riddled with an anxiety of participation, placing pressure on the tacit trust between the viewer and the artist. This discussion between London-based dance and movement artists Irina Baldini and Masako Matsushita, director and writer Annie Dorsen, theater director David Levine and curator Emily Zimmerman, will examine the emotional tensions raised by shifting modes of artistic practice, and by the physical and theoretical positioning of the spectator within these new hybridized works. Prior to the panel Irina Baldini and Masako Matsushita will stage a site-specific performance.
This discussion will launch a two-year research project and series of interviews focusing on the role of trust in artistic practices that test the boundaries between installation, performance, and participation.
The speakers for the panel include:
Annie Dorsen works in a variety of fields, including theatre, film, dance and, as of 2010, digital performance. Most recently, Hello Hi There premiered at the streirischer herbst festival (Graz), and was presented at Black Box Teatre (Oslo), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) and PS122 (New York). She is the co-creator and director of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange. Spike Lee has since made a film of her production of the piece, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, subsequently screened at South by Southwest Film Festival and The Tribeca Film Festival, and was released theatrically by IFC in 2010 before being broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances. Also in 2010, she collaborated with choreographer Anne Juren on Magical and with Ms. Juren and DD Dorviller on Pièce Sans Paroles. In 2009 she created two music-theatre pieces, Ask Your Mama, a setting of Langston Hughes’ 1962 poem, composed by Laura Karpman and sung by Jessye Norman and The Roots (Carnegie Hall) and ETHEL’s Truckstop, seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. Her pop-political performance project Democracy in America was presented at PS122 in spring 2008.
In addition to numerous awards for Passing Strange, Ms. Dorsen has received several fellowships, notably the Sir John Gielgud Fellowship from the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. She has taught at New York University and Fordham University, and is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
David Levine’s work encompasses performance, theater, installation, and video. Dividing his time between NYC and Berlin, where he is Director of the Studio Program at the European College of Liberal Arts, Levine has directed at the Atlantic Theater Company, the Vineyard Theater/NYC, and Primary Stages/NYC and has presented his performance projects at such international art spaces and surveys as MoMA, Documenta XII, Rohkunstbau, Town House Gallery/Cairo, HAU2/Berlin, PS122/NYC, and the Watermill Center, and the Sundance Theater Lab.
David’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, Theater, Art in America, Bomb, Cabinet, Theater Heute, Art Review, Die Zeit, TDR, The Village Voice, Time Out, and the Believer, and he has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Kulturstiftung Des Bundes, and Etants Donnes/French Fund for Performance.
Irina Baldini and Masako Matsushita are two London-based dance and movement artists currently in residency with RU. “Specificity of Circumstances” (soi3.tumblr.com/) is a project they have conceived for New York that is a continuation of a previous residency at Southbank Centre where they documented “fragments”.
Baldini and Matsushita first met at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance. Since 2009 they have been collaborating and exhibiting on an ongoing basis, performing in group and solo shows and realizing commissioned work in the UK, Finland and Italy.
When a performance takes place there is a proximity which makes the performance so fragile that anything could interrupt or almost has the right to disrupt. The relationship between performer and viewer is precisely Baldini’s and Matsushita’s focus of interest. By considering this relationship, their work aims to break a sense of role, implying that there is no hiding from either of the two sides and the communication is more of an exchange. An often complex or diverse space challenges a performer to be aware of what is happening around him and what does this particular space need in that very moment in time. Therefore performance can influence how a visitor perceives the space he enters.
Their residency with RU is supported by South Bank Centre / Collective Movement 2011-2012 program for emerging dance artists and the Lisa Ullman Traveling Scholarship Fund.
Image caption: Graciela Carnevale, Action for The experimental Art Cycle, 1968. Rosario, Argentina. Archivo Graciela Carnevale (photo by Carlos Militello)
July 23 2012
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dOCUMENTA(13): The Unsaid
Science and technology exerted a quiet and insistant presence at dOCUMENTA(13). One of the most stunning pairings in the mega-exhibition brought together an installation by an epigeneticist, Alexander Tarakhovsky, and two Dali paintings, a compelling juxtaposition that insisted on close examination. What brought the work of this scientist and this artist together, and what is the particular inflection of their dialog, one whose career commenced as the others waned? As is often the case in this Documenta, the wall text for these works provide clues but no direct answers, leveraging the power of those things felt, yet left unsaid. I do not have any solutions as of yet; this is simply the beginnings of an investigation.
Indeed there is a great deal to unravel here. Dali was famously obsessed by the double-helix, as the first artist to represent that form in paint with Butterfly Landscape (The Great Masturbator in a Surrealist Landscape with D.N.A.) (1957–58), created a few years after the discovery of DNA in 1953 (thank you to Michael Oatman for pointing this out). However, this work did not make its way into dOCUMENTA(13). Instead, two earlier works, Le grand paranoïaque (1936) and Espagne (1938) hung on the walls of the Fridericianum opposite the installation by Alexander Tarakhovsky.
Both paintings shown predate Dali’s fascination post WWII with the invisible material realm of atoms and DNA, but share a common source in paranoia, created with Dali’s méthode paranoïaque-critique as a way to estrange the circumstances of a time. This series of exercises was proposed by Dali in 1930 as a “spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivity of the associations and interpretations of delirious phenomena.”(see an interview - in French - with Dali about the méthode paranoïaque-critique).
Epigenetics is the study of how lived experience influences the expression of genes without altering the nucleotide sequence. These shifts in gene expression can be passed on to offspring, and often the field focuses on how intense emotion can have an impact on the expression of genes.
Tarakhovsky’s installation dramatically consists of 80,000 take away vials containing DNA transcriptions, a projected data visualization of DNA sequencing of genes affected by fear (2012), and a table bearing both instrumentation and a smaller video piece explaining the scientist’s method.
Is the emotional fabric of our reality the tie that binds the work of these individuals? Tarakhovsky’s entry in the guidebook points to a submerged philosophical thread that runs throughout the whole of the exhibition: “Tarakhovsky’s research…reflects his interest in how knowledge can not only be situated in relation to its own field of study but also expanded beyond discrete fields of study towards human life and the world holistically. Since we are all only part of a larger interaction between various global living types of matter including pathogens and toxins, human beings are beset by constant environmental conflicts…Similarly, the atmosphere in which we think is is laden with scripted modes of understanding, the sediments of domesticated ideas that form our worldviews. In order to prevent over-specialization, with its dogmatic traps, conceptual shocks (like those found in art) are necessary so as to refresh our minds in a fashion not dissimilar to building immunity against pathogens.” This is the only nod that is made to the art that occupies the same room. In a video produced in conjunction with for dOCUMENTA(13) Tarakhovsky boldly begins by saying “experience is like a scar tissue.”
I heard from a friend that the relationship is in fact a simple one: a breakthrough for Tarakhovsky was inspired by a Dali painting. I have been unable to verify this fact as of yet, and on this point the dOCUMENTA(13) text remains silent, so there is no telling.
July 16 2012
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