Class Comments

I definitely feel that I have gained much more than I had anticipated from this class; about art as a whole, definitely about conceptual art and collaborative art, and about my own art and how I can push myself further to create new and more interesting work. I definitely think I had pigeonholed myself into one kind of artist who essentially created "nice" work. Being in this class and working with everyone has taught me that its okay to think outside the box and create something a little crazy, its good to ask for help and opinions, and always always try something new. Before this class, I was really down on conceptual art; i thought it as just kind of weird and like most people I guess just didn't really get it. But now I am beginning to understand that you just truly have to look at something and understand the process a bit more, its not necessarily about the final object. Its more about appreciating not just looking.

I really enjoyed the Friday Gallery talks at the Hirshorn. So many of the pieces there need at least a little background in order to truly understand the concept and I think the Gallery talks are just a really effective way to open up a dialogue. Also, I learned a lot from participating (somewhat) in the Floating Lab Collective work and listening to the talk 3 members gave in class. It opened my eyes to how art can truly make a difference in a community and can open the eyes to bigger issues.

I think if I take the class again, as a studio, I would want to either develop or participate in a few more projects. Perhaps a chance to revamp our original team projects ( I don't know if that would have been feasible or even necessary, but just an idea)?

Thank you everyone! I had a great time getting to know and work with each of you, and hopefully we can collaborate again soon!

Fading Memories

Fading memories, I would have to agree with Nikki in that at the beginning of the project, I felt a little disjointed from the planning process. I didn't really know how the rest of Mark's pieces had worked, or how he installed them, or what the steps were, so it was hard to make suggestions. But once we got into it, I felt that we all had something to contribute, ideas on how to make the performance more effective. And in the end, as with most collaborative performances I feel, the art takes on a life of its own, leaving all of the planning behind.

One surprise that worked for our benefit was the smaller audience. I thought the fact that we, as the original writers, had to go back up and complete some of our own words, played up the "memory" part of the project, so I thought that was very effective.

One thing I would have changed would have perhaps been taking the time to read our new "mashed up" poem before we took the tape down. It did seem to have an interesting eloquence to it. I think because the poem Casey chose was a selection of short quotes, the new poem more easily took on a life of its own, as opposed to our practice writing that felt more disjointed.

I liked the overall aesthetic of the piece, I liked how after pulling off the blue tape we replaced the blue line with chalk and words. Also, the smudging where people thought that had figured out the right words and then changed there mind, seemed to add to the fading idea and the confusion and the overall haziness of the poem and the work.

I agree that this was a wonderful project to end the class on. I feel that we all got to participate, perform, collaborate, and simply enjoy the process of making art and we got to do it together. It was very inclusive, successful and fun.


Final Thoughts...

"Fading Memories" was a unique experience last week. It did not go completely as expected because I didn't know entirely what to expect. When I think about what I would change if we did it again, I would agree with Elana and Farolyn in that I wish I had spent more time reading the full text that we captured before the tape was torn down. There was something very eloquent about the line or so that I did read. While it was obviously not the full poem that Casey read, it did capture some essence of the poem, and offered a means of bringing back some of the words and phrases that had just passed through our minds.

I was happy that Casey did provide us with some context about the poem that was read, because, in the end, it felt like a necessary component to the piece. If there were no information about the words being read and transcribed, then I would feel like something was a bit more incomplete in the whole.

As I thought back on the piece, I also could not help but wonder how it would have been different if many more audience members had shown up. While we might have felt some initial disapointment in the small numbers, I think, in the end the absence of a large audience allowed us to absorb and further participate in the piece as a collaborative group. While we had collaborated to organize and enact the piece, I think it was during the last stage--reforming the words--that we had the most intimate collaboration of the day. Farolyn and Nikki formed a special tape detangling team and became engaged in piecing together words from fragments of tape.

Overall, the collaborative experience of Fading Memories seemed very different than either of our smaller group collaborations. I think it was a valuable experience on which to end the class. The performative nature made everyone's role clearly important, and took on a whole different element than the performative nature of "Airwaves" for example. This also leads me to consider collaborative art and the difference between collaborative planning and collaborative performance, participation, or enactment of an artwork. While our first projects were heavy on the collab planning, our last project was fairly equally weighted in planning and performance. I guess this is something that depends largely on the nature of the art, but Fading Memories was a good lesson in how the planning and implementation phases of a collaborative piece need to be totally in sync in order for success. If anything, this class has made me more open to the idea of collaborative art and more aware of the factors and committment that it requires.

On a side note, I had a pleasantly surprising revelation just this morning while teaching. While doing printmaking in my morning 9th grade class, I looked down to find two students (who happened to be in one of the more turmoil-ridden collaborative groups earlier this semester) sharing eachothers linoleum blocks in order to create more interesting print combinations. This came about without any mention of collaboration or print-sharing, and I have to say, it was one of the most creative and unselfish acts my students have engaged in all semester. I suppose I could be reading too much into it, but I'd like to think there was some subconscious influence from our earlier collab project going on. In any case, it was nice to see collaboration in action.

Tick Tock...My Turn

I recount practicing a week before the event. Excerpts from a book were read in an unhurried pace while each group member marked symbols on brown Butcher paper. The utensils included large Sharpies and colorful gel pens. The markings were smooth, rugged, and concise. The environment was very relaxed.

Fast forwarding to the day of the performance, I distinctly recall rapid heartbeats similar to the anxiety I experienced as a child before walking on stage. My eyes traced the strips of tape as Brianna stepped closer and closer to the end of the very last board. As I approached the stage, my brain was flooded with doubt and uncertainty. I feared making a mistake, my hand freezing mid-sentence, writing in an unusual language and breaking one of the few guidelines. Should I wait until the beginning of the next sentence? When should I begin writing? Do I have a second to breathe? How long is the poem? Why does this feel unordinary? I began writing, the chalk shattered leaving remains, I tried to catch up but I couldn't, his pace seemed deliberate, rehearsed. Was I not prepared? I paused in the middle of the board. Although, I had lost track Casey continued reading. The markings formed broken letters, fragmented sentences and indecipherable characters. A sigh of relief escaped my chest when I finally reached the very end of the board. I returned to a comfortable place in the studio and watched the upper half of the characters disappear. Why didn't I read the passage in entirety before the tape was removed? For some reason I could not remember the line of characters I wrote. Maybe this part of the performance was not intended to test memory but to build a community of collaborative art-makers.