Workshop Notes – Performing the Archive

On Kawara –

Marking the experience of life and time.

Lejeune writes extensively on diaries – proof of life

Linda Montano &

Jamie McMurray – 365 Performances

Joshua Sofaer – Perform Everyday (what>, 2008) – includes objects & instructions – book is over $80 on Amazon (rare)

Thanasis Chondros & Alexandra Katsiani – Greek couple who have performed together over 25 years – and everyone in Greece has seen their work. Not doing it anymore though…


Ethics of Art – of trying to represent the experience of someone else – it’s authenticity? – the authorship?

** Think about: Recording the audience member’s experience of an event/performance/etc.

Presentation Assignment – Perform the Presentation – Who is presenting? The Collector or someone who has found this collection? ### Present as the collector or as someone who has found the collection…




Night of the Black Snow

Firebombing of Tokyo.jpgThe Bombing of Tokyo (東京大空襲 Tōkyōdaikūshū) often refers to a series of firebombing air raids by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II. On the night of 9–10 March 1945, Operation Meetinghouse was conducted and is regarded as the single most destructive bombing raid in human history:[1] 16 square miles (41 km2) of central Tokyo was annihilated, over 1 million were made homeless with an estimated 100,000 civilian deaths. The Japanese later called this event Night of the Black Snow.

Kayoko mentioned these in the Performing the Archive workshop

READING DIARY: Artistic Research in the Era of Globalization (Butt)

The 3 readings on Thomas Hirschhorn’s Gramsci Monument at Forest Houses in the Bronx, NY introduce us to a broad range of perspectives on the work. First, Hirschhorn’s short essays on the origin of the monument as part of the 4 in the series, offer also his theory behind Unshared Authorship and the “presence and production” guideline he uses for his monuments, specifically this one, where the interaction and participation by others are integral to the successful realization of his piece – even if not required by the artist.

I found  Hirschhorn’s writings to be enlightening and helpful in understanding the ideas behind the piece. His schema on shared and unshared authorship opened up new ideas for me too. While I’ve never thought of my own work in these terms, it helps me to consider other ways of looking at – and demanding more of – my own socially-engaged art projects – especially in terms of creating an equal experience and sense of agency around a project/work of art that sits within a public space and a community.

What I get from Fred Moten’s the gramsci monument poem is a sense of the roller coaster like fluctuations in how Moten personally experienced the Gramsci Monument that somewhat reflects how the project was seen and experienced in the community, including Moten’s sense of it “feeling good” to be there. For me, it’s not surprising that it (the monument, and a sensitive open person’s experience) would have so many ups and downs given the form it took.

I appreciate José Esteban Muñoz’s text on Moten’s poem about the Gramsci Monument and how it breaks down the need to deconstruct, rescue each other from, rebuild and learn to make our own projects – those that are institutionalized or otherwise.

I get a sense that that is also Danny Butt’s intention as applied to education – which is why I am excited to take this workshop.



. . . . . . .  POSTED 15.07.17 . . . . . . .

Dear Danny (et al)

I am sorry I do not have my reading diary ready for you yet.

A major flood happened in my studio a few days ago and I am overwhelmed trying to do everything I can to manage this disaster and get my place back in order before leaving for Berlin next week.

I promise I am reading the texts and am very excited to be in your workshop!

See you soon!




Briefly explain your understanding of the text(s), what problems they address, which questions they answer (and how) and which ones are left open.

When posting in your blog please use the following title formula:
READING DIARY: Name of Workshop (Teacher Last Name)

Artistic Research in the Era of Globalization” workshop with Danny Butt

READING DIARY: Performing the Archive (Avgitidou)


I’ve been thinking about the readings and contemplating the variety of ideas, practices and theories presented. Archives and collections fascinate me. And although I didn’t exactly set out to create an archive for my first year project, I did have to figure out a way to track and “store” my collection of invisible things that I was gathering. Just the idea of it brought up so many interesting and complex questions and ideas.

One thing that especially struck me while going through these readings was the realization of how subjective an archive can be. Just as a painter has free rein to rearrange a landscape to meet his or her own personal aesthetic sensibilities, and an editor is able to embellish certain details of history and omit others so as to tell the story he of she wants to tell… archivists too can manipulate the story that’s told through objects in a collection.

While I think the problem with this kind of manipulation of facts/history/artifacts is pretty evident, it’s also interesting to think about how creative and peculiar one can be with an archive, like Tacita Dean and Thomas Hischhorn are doing.

Imagine someone has a large collection of shells or rocks and this person decides it would be a good idea to archive it. There are practically an infinite amount of data points that can be gathered from each specimen – color, size, shape, elemental makeup, date and location of where it was found, etc. But what if the archive focused instead on not the cold, hard, scientific facts, but other, more ephemeral, less concrete details. Like, what if the focus for the archive was to present data on how the person was feeling when the shell was picked up and what exactly was going on in that person’s life at the time? Well, it obviously wouldn’t be an archive one would find in a natural history museum, that’s for sure…

The readings have given me a lot of food for thought and I think the workshop will be especially useful for me as I develop my own archives and start traveling around with my Invisibility Lab.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about a topic that has always interested me and makes me excited!



Dear Angeliki (et al)

I am sorry I do not have my reading diary ready for you yet.

A major flood happened in my studio a few days ago and I am overwhelmed trying to do everything I can to manage this disaster and get my place back in order before leaving for Berlin next week.

I promise I am reading the texts and am very excited to be in your workshop!

See you soon!







Briefly explain your understanding of the text(s), what problems they address, which questions they answer (and how) and which ones are left open.

When posting in your blog please use the following title formula:
READING DIARY: Name of Workshop (Teacher Last Name)

Performing the archive” workshop with Angeliki Avgitidou

READING DIARY: Dis/placement and art (Marcevska)

Of all the readings, I’m most interested in Shahram Khosravi’s Engaging Anthropology: An Auto-Ethnographic Approach piece. I was first introduced to auto-ethnography when you (Elena) were advising me over the first year of my MFA program. While I didn’t quite understand it at first, I have found this writing style to be among the most interesting forms of writing ~ and I’m grateful for your introduction to the form. 🙂

Shahram Khosravi’s work especially interests me for two reasons. First, because he utilizes socially engaged art projects to research, share, and educate people in the public sphere and within the institutions he has access to (academia & the state). Secondly, because he writes about “what emerges from the space in between.”

THE SPACE IN BETWEEN is an idea I think about regularly. Originally through a young adult novel with the same title written by a playwright friend of mine which I began reading at the same time I was composing a song about my mother’s suicide in which the phrase started to emerge.

Also, as Khosravi talks about, he expresses his sense of feeling caught in the gap between

While I’m not a migrant or a nomad, I have often felt a sense of “unfittingness and unbelongingness” in the places I have inhabited. And for similar, parallel reasons, I feel like I live in the spaces between the normal, “accepted” ways of being and a totally different, unconventional way of existing. While my experiences and ways of existing bear little to no resemblance to that of which Khosrabi speaks of (since I am white, American, and ostensibly privileged and free to go where I like) it is more of a psychological gap where I feel a sense of “unfittingness and unbelongingness”.

I’m wondering if the writings I’m doing for my Archive of Invisibility may fall into the category of auto-ethnography, or are rather simply, spontaneous stream-of-consciousness writing…? I suspect it is the latter, but I would like to utilize the form of auto-ethnographic writing for the Invisibility Lab reports as they are written over Year 2.





New terms I’ve learned in this reading:

Public intellectual

Street academia

Public anthropology

Engaged anthropology



. . . . . . . . POSTED 15 JULY 2017 . . . . . . .

Dear Elena (et al)

I am sorry I do not have my reading diary ready yet.

A major flood happened in my studio a few days ago and I am overwhelmed trying to do everything I can to manage this disaster and get my place back in order before leaving for Berlin next week.

I promise I am reading the texts and am very excited to be in your workshop!

Will see you soon!







Briefly explain your understanding of the text(s), what problems they address, which questions they answer (and how) and which ones are left open.

When posting in your blog please use the following title formula:
READING DIARY: Name of Workshop (Teacher Last Name)

Dis/placement and art” workshop with Elena Marchevska


Aboubakar Fofana – Indigo (documenta – Athens)

I appreciate the way the author describes the artist’s spiritual practice in the article below. I’d love to see what Fofana’s work looks like – and to witness his process…


Aboubakar Fofana

Dried ngalama leaves being prepared for the dye pot, photo: Riley Salyards

Born in Mali in 1967, Aboubakar Fofana left the African continent at an early age for Paris. Fofana’s founding discipline was calligraphy. Fascinated by the sign and the trace, he drew on Western and Eastern traditions to help him master his medium. He wondered if Africa had something similar, and then a series of chance happenings revealed a trove of scripts from across the continent. His first major installation was based around these many written forms, ancient and modern, countering the romantic belief that all African societies belong to oral traditions, and reflecting Fofana’s own spiritual revolution toward Africa as a source of inspiration. And then he remembered a plant he had seen in a forest as a young boy, before his dislocation; a plant that had ordinary-looking green leaves that, when crushed, stained the fingers blue.

Returning to West Africa, he traveled extensively throughout the region, looking for anybody who could teach him to put together a working fermented indigo vat. But the skills had disappeared before he was born, replaced by chemical dyestuffs, leaving only fragments of knowledge. He found much of the information he had been seeking in a library in Paris, pinned into the dry leaves of pre-independence accounts of daily life in West Africa. For many years he went back and forth between his two worlds, taking the pieces of knowledge he found in both places and trying to put them into practice.

Fofana’s tangible output is the result of a spiritual practice based on his fundamental belief that nature is divine, and this is how he shares his practice with an audience. His skill comes from decades of learning to work in harmony with the forces of nature, and his materials and their limitations and innate qualities utterly inform every aspect of his work. His indigo vats are alive. They contain few ingredients and no chemicals—the color comes from the indigo leaves themselves, pounded and dried. Bacteria, carefully nurtured inside the vat, make the indigotin pigment in the leaves accessible and help to reduce it to a form whereby it will oxidize directly onto the fabric.

Fofana’s work embodies a conscious attempt to hold and defend his techniques and materials, and the environment and human philosophies that gave rise to them. For Fofana, the natural world along with our own human ability is where we began, and it is how we will finish.

—Johanna Macnaughtan

Posted in Public Exhibition
Excerpted from the documenta 14: Daybook


Mounira Al Solh – “time documents”

This project seems to resemble my Sin Paredes project in some ways… audio, drawing, personal stories about immigration… It sounds really great – I’d love to see it!


Mounira Al Solh

Mounira Al Solh, four drawings from “I Strongly Believe in Our Right to Be Frivolous” (2012–17), ink, graphite, marker, paint, and thread on paper, 30 × 21 cm each, courtesy Mounira Al Solh and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg

I often wonder what people mean when they say Kassel has changed over these past two years, during what has been called the “refugee crisis.” Has the city become more diverse? Are social and cultural borders shifting? Such as the border demarcated by Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse, between Mitte and Nordstadt, the home of Turkish, Ethiopian, Bulgarian, and other immigrant communities that arrived in Kassel in the 1960s and ’70s. Or is the change marked by fear, those appeals to the populist imagination that produce profound anxiety around the arrival of new communities, represented through the extreme right-wing sentiments of movements such as Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)?

The Lebanese-Dutch artist Mounira Al Solh, born in Beirut in 1978, presents a series of portraits at documenta 14 under the title “I Strongly Believe in Our Right to Be Frivolous.” The portraits are made through encounters in Kassel and Athens (as well as other cities) with Middle Eastern and North African migrants, who have made—or are making—the transition from the status of refugees into citizens.

Including text, drawings, embroideries, and a sound installation, the project began in 2012 as “time documents” of the Syrian and Middle Eastern revolutions and subsequent crises. “I Strongly Believe …” approaches the topic of (forced) migration on the level of oral history: an ambiguous historiographic category that escapes more formal archival processes, yet an undeniably tenacious one because knowledge is conveyed through people themselves. The project and the production of these portraits follows the artist and vice versa as she connects to local communities in the cities she visits.

The oral history of displaced individuals that Al Solh bears witness to is as much a legal account as a personal one. Many of the portraits are drawn on yellow legal paper, which serve as material indexes of the painstaking bureaucratic processes through which immigrants must go in order to obtain citizenship. The portraits map the geographies of arrival through storytelling, but also through the experience of immigration policies that deeply affect Europe’s political landscape.

The sonic elements of the work are translations of the Arabic texts in the portraits. It is hard to discern which voice belongs to which text, or even to which person the voice belongs. The ever-expanding oral history situates the stories of migrants within the informal social economies in which trauma, relief, fear, anxiety, joy, and hospitality unfold.

—Hendrik Folkerts

Posted in Public Exhibition
Excerpted from the documenta 14: Daybook

Betty Tompkins: WOMEN Words

Check out this project:


Sin Paredes: Storia #1

Sin Paredes is a collaborative project created with the aim to give voice to the people who culturally and economically enrich our communities through their hard work, community engagement, and cultural contributions, yet who are not free to enjoy the same liberties as others because of their nationality, immigration status, gender, class, sexual orientation, or even just the color of their skin.
Recognizing our shared humanity in the stories told in this series inspires us to take action towards building a better, more inclusive community where everyone is valued for their diverse perspectives and cultural contributions.

Visit for more information.

© 2017
Gabrielle Senza & Clemente S.
Studio Lab Eleven

The word connects the visible trace with the invisible thing, the absent thing, the thing that is desired or feared, like a frail emergency bridge flung over an abyss.

Italo Calvino

Girls quickly learn that a woman’s beauty can be a liability…

André St. Clair and Tavet Gillson of AndréTavet


André St. Clair and Tavet Gillson of AndréTavet, i usedta live in the world, 2016

In this work we interpreted Dr. Shange’s poem, i usedta live in the world, which is about the universality of women’s experience of being pinned under the weight of masculinity. The threat of sexual or physical violence by men is real for transgender and cisgender women who dare to live freely under the male gaze. Though they are born free, girls quickly learn that a woman’s beauty can be a liability. To compensate for this cold, cynical reality, self-imposed and socially sanctioned protective measures limit a woman’s mobility and ownership of self and space. The feminine body, an object of a penetrating and policing male gaze, is then ironically rendered hyper-visible. i usedta live in the world depicts a woman grappling with this reality.

The column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of arts administration company, Souleo Enterprises.


Marco Tirelli: Painting the Invisible


From an 2012 New York Times article by Roderick Conway Morris:

Over the last decade, Mr. Tirelli’s painting has given rise to a series of large-scale canvases of geometric objects and arresting contrasts of light and darkness — rendered with an extraordinary combination of boldness in design and subtlety in perspective and painting technique to create astonishing trompe-l’oeil sculptural images and vibrant visual effects.

These paintings are difficult to categorize. They are metaphysical in that they share the aspiration of Giorgio de Chirico during his Metaphysical Painting period “to show what cannot be seen.”


Mr. Tirelli’s “Untitled, 2009,” which was on display at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice from 2010 to 2011. Credit Jean-Pierre Gabriel

“I was incredibly struck, for example, how in ‘Il Vaticinatore’ de Chirico showed the shadow of a statue, but not the statue itself,” he said. “So the statue was absent and yet present.”

However, the means by which Mr. Tirelli strives to realize his metaphysical visions are entirely different from those of the Greek-born painter. Indeed, to explain the purpose of his works he turns not to other painters but instead to the early 19th-century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi’s “L’infinito” (Infinity). In these verses the poet, sitting on a hill, his view of the distant horizon impeded by a hedge, imagines “endless spaces beyond,” perceiving that immensity, through intervening layers of physical reality, only in the mind’s eye.

“I’m fascinated by surfaces and what is on the other side of them,” Mr. Tirelli said. “Dürer was intensely engaged with this concept of ‘perspicere,’ of ‘seeing through,”’ he added, referring to the Renaissance German artist. “And, of course, the use of perspective to transport the viewer through the immediate surface, the canvas or the wall, into another world is its classic manifestation in art.”

While maintaining a base at the Cerere factory, Mr. Tirelli spent much of the 1990s and the last decade in a remote house in the mountains of Umbria in the region of Spoleto, pursuing his art in an almost hermitlike fashion. “I am not religious in a conventional sense, but Umbria is a deeply mystical land,” he said.


The artist Marco Tirelli in his studio in Rome. Credit Marco Anelli
((This was my studio for several months in 1997/98))

The utter darkness of the night when he looked out of the window of his house there, far from artificial light sources, had a profound influence on his artistic vision, he said.

“You knew that there were mountains and woods and a world out there yet you could not see them in the almost total blackness,” he said. “And by shining a torch out into the darkness, you could see the complete division of light and darkness. The church fathers described God as light, but I began to conceive of an all-enveloping God not as light, but as darkness.”

Valuable Archiving Resources

I’ve found these sites online, which I believe, will help me with archiving -not just my 1,000 invisible things, but with archiving my work in general.

Check them out:

Artists’ Studio Archives

Practical strategies for artists, archivists, librarians, and museum curators to collect and preserve artists’ archives.

Artwork Inventory for Artists

Powerful, easy-to-use tools to manage your artwork.


Archive As Event

The presentation included a basic introduction on the concepts of the online John Latham Archive and a performance/presentation of Mitya.


Archive Journal

Archive Journal focuses on the use and theory of archives and special collections in higher education.

More from Archive Journal:

Art, Work, and Archives: Performativity and the Techniques of Production

Radical Archives




Creative Time Rethinks the Artist Residency for the Global Art World



How the Art World Caught Archive Fever

By Artspace Editors

JAN. 22, 2014

How the Art World Caught Archive Fever

Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser’s collection of houses by the Austrian insurance clerk Peter Fritz at the 2013 Venice Biennale
 … Of course, the archive is hardly a new theme in contemporary art. The art historian Hal Foster‘s 2004 essay “The Archival Impulse” defined archival art as a genre that “make[s] historical information, often lost or displaced, physically present. To this end [archival artists] elaborate on the found image, object, and favor the installation format.” Whether this happens in the form of projects dealing with real archival material or artworks in which artists use the archive as a theme (sometimes even inventing material), the idea of the archive continues to be an undeniable force and organizing structure in exhibitions today. Here we break down the basics of this complicated yet intensely contemporary genre, which easily elides from the hyper-researched to the totally surreal….

The Atlas Group – video document




Gregory Sholette on Contemporary Practice

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice With Gregory Sholette

Artist, scholar, organizer, and professor, Gregory Sholette embodies multiple ways that artists can interrogate history, politics, and public discourse. Through his initial work with the group REPOhistory (1989-2000) (as in, “repossessing history”), he, along with other art groups and individuals of the 80s and early 90s, effectively drew attention to the artist as a social and political actor. Sholette’s collaborations with REPOhistory also presented art works as vehicles for addressing submerged socio-political histories, such as in the group’s Lower Manhattan Sign Project (1992-1993), in which they posted signs around Manhattan offering information about “the unknown or forgotten history of Manhattan below Chambers Street.” Sholette has also been an active participant in PAD/D (Political Art Documentation and Distribution [1980-1986]), an organization devoted to the publication and distribution of documents regarding the intersection of aesthetic politics and activism. Most recently Sholette has founded an archive for futures that “never happened” (The Imaginary Archive, 2010-present), and has been involved with The Institute for Wishful Thinking, an organization that attempts to harness the “untapped” potential of artists by soliciting proposals for projects which might effect governmental and social change.

More here.  And Gregory’s site here.

Dammi i colori. Anri Sala.

I stumbled across this film on YouTube – very poor quality file, I could barely read the subtitles, but I was moved by it nevertheless. I have experienced the phenomena of color and it’s power to transform. It is not surprising to me that a colorless, depressing hellhole of a city could be transformed with paint – bringing air and lightback into the lives of it’s inhabitants and a sense of joy and new life to the formerly dull streets of the city. Meraviglioso!

Measuring the Invisible

Frequently, as I ponder each potential invisible thing that I might add to my archive of 1,000 invisible things, I ask if the thing is measurable in some way – for example, happiness. Can you measure happiness?

How about conversationCan you measure it?

Other than the basic, “Can you see it?” question, additional questions I ask are:

Can you touch it? Is it something you can pull out and define by it’s edges? Does it have edges?

Is it an organ? The mind – could one surgically remove it from the body? What about the g-spot? I can locate mine, certainly, but could it be removed surgically? As an organ donor, could I donate my g-spot?

If it’s kind of visible, as in a relationship, can you definitively describe how it looks? – in the same way you could describe what a monkey wrench looks like? In other words, will one relationship always look like any other relationship? Is it as definable as the way a monkey wrench will always look like a monkey wrench? Or the way a hammer will almost always look like a hammer?

And how about when we use metaphor? They’re helpful for illustrating a point, but you can’t really see a metaphor – we’re only able to visualize it in our mind’s eye – and your vision will certainly be different from mine…

There are loads of other questions I use. This is just a quick overview. Today, I entered into Google the phrase “Measuring the Invisible”. The search produced some pretty fascinating results which you can see here.

And this is the kind of thing I geek out on:

A popular woodworking magazine published a letter a few months ago from a guy whose doctor said he could no longer use his woodworking machinery because of his pacemaker.  If that was me, I don’t know if I’d take that advice sitting down — I’d probably try to measure the fields with a meter like this one from AlphaLab to see if there actually was a danger or if I could shield the machinery somehow.

Made in the USA, AlphaLab’s TriField meter measures magnetic, electric, and radio/microwave field strength continuously on its analog meter.  The device is sensitive to electric and magnetic fields regardless of orientation because it uses three mutually perpendicular coils in AlphaLab’s unique network configuration.  The included 9V battery lasts for about ten hours of continuous use.

Look to pay about $130 for the meter.

And this:

Measuring Invisible Fields: Electromagentism

The survey materializes by drawing electromagnetic activity as water, where lines are engraved into the glass surface and appear when they are illuminated. The electromagnetic data gathered is processed in order to create meaning from it creating a sectional survey of the hallucinatory state that is produced when the body makes direct contact with electromagnetic activity.

Some quotes from the investigation which I found interesting and appropriate to my project:

2.     The environment and its inhabitants interact through energy transfers.

11.   Between bodies and electromagnetism immeasurable space is produced within measurable space.

 12.   Moving through the range of charged electromagnetic frequencies, one’s cognitive faculties are disturbed and the physical conditions of the place transform

19.   The architect adjusts the atmospheric charges to induce hallucinations and enhance perceptual cognition.

20.   In some sectors the architect creates gardens with different species of stimulating frequency waves. In other areas the city may have to regulate the flows

24.   Matter, body, and electromagnetic frequencies band together and form an interdependent environment hovering between the visible and invisible.

Find more here: SOTIRIOS KOTOULAS: Emission Architecture (updated) | LEBBEUS WOODS.

Must-See Exhibitions: NYC – 12.06.16

I was really hoping to see the Carollee Schneeman shows at PPOW and Galerie Lelong, but sadly, they both ended on 12.03.16. Rats! I just missed it. What a drag!

GREY ART GALLERY / NYU @ 100 WASHINGTON SQ. EAST (Btw. Waverly & Washington)
(Tu/Th/Fr 10 – 6 | We 11-8 | Sa 11-5 | Suggested $3)
Until 12.10.2016

(Wed 10-5 | Closed Thu | $18/Student)
Until 01.11.2017

PIPILOTTI RIST (Top 2-3 floors again!)
(Wed 11-6 | Thu 11 – 9 | $12/Student)
Until 01.15.2017

(Wed 12-6 | Thu 12-6 | FREE)
Until 12.17.2016

(Tue – Sat 10 – 6 | FREE)
Until 12.17.2016

(Tues – Sat 10 – 6)
Until 01.07.2017

FURTHER EVIDENCE – EXHIBIT A  @ P.P.O.W. @ 535 WEST 22ND ST. (Wed + Thu 10-6)
Until 12.03.2016

Art from Cologne, Cosima von Bonin

From the TATE website:

Rhinegold: Art from Cologne, Cosima von Bonin

Cosima von Bonin is one of the most influential and prolific artists working in Germany today. Making painting, sculpture, installations, textiles, performances and films, her art is not limited to a single medium or genre. Von Bonin’s approach is often collaborative; she has organised numerous events with fellow artists, musicians and theorists, stretching the definition of an artist by assuming the role of curator, critic, DJ and producer.

Von Bonin has an acute awareness of social and artistic relations and has explored them in a number of her collaborations. When given a solo exhibition at Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne in 1992, she invited the artist Ingeborg Gabriel to exhibit her work instead. Similarly, at the entrance to her recent solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Braunschweig, rather than give her own work pride of place, von Bonin installed a large work by New York-based artist Nils Norman to greet visitors. Von Bonin also used the exhibition’s catalogue as a vehicle to promote her peers by commissioning Norman, Josephine Pride and Kai Althoff to contribute texts. By taking an active curatorial role in such events, von Bonin both exposes and subverts the mechanisms of the art world.

An important strand of von Bonin’s practice is her use of textiles as exemplified by International Wool Exchange 2003 and Crude Cuisine (Loop #1) 2003, both included in the exhibition. The source of these textile ‘paintings’ was a photograph of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles published in BUNTE, the German equivalent of Hello! magazine. Von Bonin has partially hidden both figures, reducing them to silhouette using collage and embroidery. Alluding to the work of Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke and Rosemarie Trockel, von Bonin plays with the thematic shift of such images by creating a complex web of references to high art, popular culture, craft, and domesticity whilst challenging bourgeois constructions of femininity.

Cosima von Bonin was born in Mombasa, Kenya in 1962 and was awarded the Scholarship of the Günther-Peill-Stiftung, Düuren from 1998 – 2000. Her work has been shown in many group exhibitions including Fusion Cuisine, Deste Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens (2002), Out of Space, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2000) and oLdNEWtOWn, Casey Kaplan, New York (1999). Her recent solo exhibitions include Galerie Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid (2004), Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York (2003) and the Kunstverein Hamburg (2001).

Who is Kai Althoff?

After seeing Kai Althoff’s huge installation at MoMA last month, I’ve been left wondering “Who is Kai Althoff? And what is he all about?” Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I didn’t have a shred of context about his work prior to seeing the show, except that Jean Marie suggested I go see the show, since he (like me?) is prolific and varies widely in what he creates/produces – and here is an interesting way of bringing it together in an exhibition – that is to say, arranging a massive amount of varied objects, paintings, detritus in a space without having everything be presented in a more formal/precious way – there weren’t even wall tags for the works in the exhibit, but a sort of photocopy list/diagram of works that you could carry around as you wondered through the show.

So, as a result, with so little information, I knew not if he was a contemporary artist or an artist of from the 2nd world war. I guessed from all that I saw that he had at least lived through the war, and that I somehow had never heard of him in all my art history studies over the years…

But now, with a bit of time on my hands (and an even greater curiosity about how I could have missed hearing about an artist with such apparent importance that MoMA committed a huge space for him to dump a huge amount of art/debris/artifacts/etc. in) I’m digging in to learn more…

First, I discovered he is basically the same age as me:
Kai Althoff is a German visual artist and musician, born February 1966 in Cologne Germany. Wikipedia

 Then, from the MoMA site:

“Within an environment envisioned by the artist upon seeing the gallery allotted to him, he arranges work stemming from his early youth to the very present, in a manner of a child being handed toys, new and old: some are cherished and idolized, some are semi-precious in rank, some are abandoned and neglected in slumber of increasing hate generating towards them. Some are loved to the utmost, so much he’d want to hold onto them until the very last moment before death, and beyond.

“The work being treated as such will be comprised of fragments of former larger scale environments, drawings, paintings, objects found and fabricated. In ‘and then leave me to the common swifts’, nothing is an attempt of recreating the original composition of when these works were displayed each for its first time. Instead the artist gives in to whatever his innate forces originating in his emotions command him to do upon the encounter with this work, his very own, for the most part. The result is further also constrained by time or its lack, and the pressure created by complex sociological processes, which sometimes leads the artist to surrender to a fatalism otherwise strongly fought.”

And… here’s something about his music which I’ll definitely have to check out soon…

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Workshop

Album: Es liebt Dich und Deine Korperlichkeit ein Ausgeflippter

Label: Blue Chopsticks

Review date: Apr. 2, 2002

Pathalogical Altruism, or the perils of being too selfless

I’m interested in understanding more about this condition… one of my former professors, Barbara Oakley has published a book on it.  I’ve tried to order it through the C/W MARS library system, but it doesn’t seem to be available through that route…

Anyway, from the Amazon page:
The benefits of altruism and empathy are obvious. These qualities are so highly regarded and embedded in both secular and religious societies that it seems almost heretical to suggest they can cause harm. Like most good things, however, altruism can be distorted or taken to an unhealthy extreme. Pathological Altruism presents a number of new, thought-provoking theses that explore a range of hurtful effects of altruism and empathy.

Pathologies of empathy, for example, may trigger depression as well as the burnout seen in healthcare professionals. The selflessness of patients with eating abnormalities forms an important aspect of those disorders. Hyperempathy – an excess of concern for what others think and how they feel – helps explain popular but poorly defined concepts such as codependency. In fact, pathological altruism, in the form of an unhealthy focus on others to the detriment of one’s own needs, may underpin some personality disorders.

Pathologies of altruism and empathy not only underlie health issues, but also a disparate slew of humankind’s most troubled features, including genocide, suicide bombing, self-righteous political partisanship, and ineffective philanthropic and social programs that ultimately worsen the situations they are meant to aid. Pathological Altruism is a groundbreaking new book – the first to explore the negative aspects of altruism and empathy, seemingly uniformly positive traits. The contributing authors provide a scientific, social, and cultural foundation for the subject of pathological altruism, creating a new field of inquiry. Each author’s approach points to one disturbing truth: what we value so much, the altruistic “good” side of human nature, can also have a dark side that we ignore at our peril.

There’s a lengthy review by Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, July 6, 2012 available here.

Plus there’s a pretty thorough article here.

Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas & Other Warburg Inspirations

Cornell University Library | The Warburg Institute | Cornell University Press | Signale

Ten panels from the Mnemosyne Atlas

The last project of the German Jewish “cultural scientist” Aby M. Warburg (1866-1929), the Mnemosyne Atlas is an unfinished attempt to map the pathways that give art history and cosmography their pathos-laden meanings. Warburg thought this visual, metaphoric encyclopedia, with its constellations of symbolic images, would animate the viewer’s memory, imagination, and understanding of what he called “the afterlife of antiquity.”

Music inspired by Aby Warburg:

Il ruvido dettaglio celebrato da Aby Warburg (The rough detail celebrated by Aby Warburg): II. Teso, curando bene i dettagli
Mdi Ensemble


Page-Shot-2016-11-4 Nick Benson with Jason Wallengren.png

Nick Benson with Jason Wallengren

The Postmemory Project – Correspondence Series

This email correspondence between Nick Benson and Jason Wallengren was started in July 2013 and finished in March 2014. It was first published in August 2014 as a printed pamphlet.

Kaya Behkalam



Kaya Behkalam, Mikala Hyldig Dal, 2009
3x3m, 4 synchronized video projections, HD Video, 8 Channel Sound installation
(in collaboration with Cetin Güzelhan, comissioned for the exhibition “Istanbul Modern Berlin / Istanbul Next Wave” at Martin Gropius Bau Berlin, Sounddesign J. Martin)

“Atlas” is a progressing image research of iconic quotes ranging from the Kaaba in Mecca to Malevichs’ Black Square, from the alignment of the Central perspective to the vaulting lines of Turkish-Arab Calligraphy, a meditation on the reciprocity of iconisation and iconoclasm the central momentum of “modernity” and a subject of non-European cultures for centuries beforehand.
A cubic video installation presents 4 image catalogues ordered in the subdivisions “Ornament”, “Iconoclasm”, “Projections” and “Perspectives” derived from 500 years of cultural history on 4 projected canvases.
Images from Istanbul Archives and icons of Western art history are placed alongside (self)stagings of contemporary artists and visual findings from various sources and interwoven in the thematic image-carpets.

Inspired by the Image atlas Mnemosyne by Aby Warburg the continuously changing Imageflow of the installation offers a perspective on East-Western Image(his)stories and history constructions that renders visible potential and associative relations while grasping the concept of modernity as a non-linear, reciprocal and continuous process.

Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art

Front CoverBecoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art

Duke University Press, Sep 12, 2011Science264 pages
In Becoming Undone, Elizabeth Grosz addresses three related concepts—life, politics, and art—by exploring the implications of Charles Darwin’s account of the evolution of species. Challenging characterizations of Darwin’s work as a form of genetic determinism, Grosz shows that his writing reveals an insistence on the difference between natural selection and sexual selection, the principles that regulate survival and attractiveness, respectively. Sexual selection complicates natural selection by introducing aesthetic factors and the expression of individual will, desire, or pleasure. Grosz explores how Darwin’s theory of sexual selection transforms philosophy, our understanding of humanity in its male and female forms, our ideas of political relations, and our concepts of art. Connecting the naturalist’s work to the writings of Bergson, Deleuze, and Irigaray, she outlines a postmodern Darwinism that understands all of life as forms of competing and coordinating modes of openness. Although feminists have been suspicious of the concepts of nature and biology central to Darwin’s work, Grosz proposes that his writings are a rich resource for developing a more politicized, radical, and far-reaching feminist understanding of matter, nature, biology, time, and becoming.

Chasing Ghosts

From Enda’s Blog:

Latton National School, Co. Monaghan 1941
Latton National School, Co. Monaghan 1941

Contemporary ruins can provoke an unusual emotional response that is difficult define. A familiar environment that has fallen into decay can be both unsettling and intriguing, inspiring fascination and fear as a tangible reminder of the scale of your own lifetime. Kate Brown talks of the concept of ‘rustalgia’ in her book Dispatches from Dystopia: Histories of Places Not Yet Forgotten (2014). For her, while some people speak of their ‘lustful’ attraction to such sites, ‘others will speak in mournful tones of what is lost, what she calls rustalgia.’

November Process Blog

A few notes on my process…

I was really struggling with how to manage/store/categorize/track/organize such a huge number of invisible things… Although the “things” don’t take any physical space, they did take up a great deal of mental space – and clearly more than any one human could hold in one’s head.

So I decided to create an inventory of what I had so far, and to start entering the ideas/words for the invisible things into a spreadsheet program . This would allow me to efficiently track the quantity, alphabetize & eliminate any duplicates of the invisible things in my collection. (I used Google docs so that I could add to the list from wherever I was – in case ideas came to me at work, I could quickly log in and add the items to the list online rather than into a database that lived only on my computer).

I then transferred each word or idea collected onto an index card and put it into a little black file box specifically devoted to the collection of 1,000 invisible things.

So far, I have a little over 800 items in the collection.

It was interesting to me to discover that although I was really excited about getting the 1,000 index cards and a nice black box in the mail for organizing my items, I felt incredibly ambivalent about copying out the individual words onto the index cards… I realized, that part of the problem was that I didn’t feel connected to the words I was writing onto the cards and putting in the box, because many of the words I had in my spreadsheet had been sourced from online lists of “abstract nouns” rather than from my own thoughts, conversations and discoveries.

Hence, I have only copied out the words up to the letter “I” – so probably only about one third of what I have on my list so far…

Here are a few photographs…

A few thoughts…

I’ve looked at a number of different ways of amassing and categorizing these items, and have found it both fascinating and challenging to come up with a system that also aligns with what I most desire to discover by swimming in this world of the unseen – which is to take a deep dive into the sea of ideas about invisibility – specifically around issues of feeling invisible at times and wishing to be invisible at other times. This interests me primarily because that was my experience growing up and continues still today – there were times when I felt completely unseen, unprotected, and as if I didn’t count for anything, and other times when I wished I could be invisible in order to escape the sexual advances of my step-father and other men in my surroundings.

Initially this grew out of a curiosity about what the similarities and differences would be between my personal experiences and the experiences of people from different parts of the world and in different circumstances. Isn’t it possible that a South American illegal immigrant might want to be utterly invisible as he or she crosses the boarder between the US and Mexico, but might not want to be invisible when the Capo is looking for people to hire for the day. Isn’t it likely that my own black nephew would want to be seen and recognized for his achievements, kindness, and integrity, yet be afraid of being hassled or even killed by police if he was pulled over on his way home?

I wanted to see how far out these similarities and differences would extend beyond the personal and into broader social and political realms.

Now, with the terrifying election results in the US, coupled with the unbridled hate that is making itself known here and around the world in a big way,  I am sure that any person of color might not want to stand out and be seen by those filled with venom, bigotry and hate, yet he might want to stand up and be heard and seen, while also being respected and protected.

What is happening right now in the United States has narrowed down what could have been a wide range of entry points, to just a few correlating elements that I want to examine further.

One of the main reasons I chose this topic was so that I could keep diving in to these deep waters of the unseen, in order to explore other regions… Who knows where it will all lead…






On Trump: an Open Letter to the Brokenhearted

In case you haven’t seen it, this is a moving and apt piece for the day that I just had to share.

On Trump: an Open Letter to the Brokenhearted      By Adebayo Akomolafe

I want to invite us to slow down and pay attention to the stark grief that haunts us now. She stares us in the face, this repulsive visitor. If we must survive, we must return her gaze and let her do her important work with us.

…In one fell swoop, it felt like America, the so-called home of the brave was exactly that: a place dyed in fear, where braveness would now be required to keep on living.

In an all-too-real case of “be careful what you wish for”, I find not relief but a painful sympathy with many who had hoped that the morning of 9th would somehow usher in a more tolerant America. A more beautiful country. A country that cares about its many colours and contours. Now because of Trump and the energies he has activated, minorities are probably less safe. At a time of unprecedented racial tensions and phallic exhibitions of gunmanship, some folks are already dreading their next brief visit to the shopping mall, knowing that the streets are now being painted red with hate, white with racial acrimony and blind nativism, and blue with the authoritarian aloofness of a candidate who promised ‘law and order’. The new America.

Life isn’t a highway but an ecology of small things and ordinary becomings

The sacred is awkwardly closer than you think

Worshipping Lali ~ From Bayo Akomolafe’s site:

“According to one account I have since lost touch of, people were fond of seeing ‘comets’ as angels on errand. Halley’s shocking prediction thus became a line drawn in the sand, because if he was right, then what use did people have of a creator ‘God’? Could God himself and the vanishingly little space science had allocated to him (now in the heavens) be totally snuffed out? How do we meet the sacred if it is nowhere to be found – totally exiled by the regular?”

SlussenProject, Archiving the ephemeral

SlussenProject aimed at building an extensive audio database of stories, memories and field recordings characterizing the Slussen area in Stockholm and in particular its unknown and invisible dimensions. The realization of the project has been maintained over six months between December 2012 and May 2013, when the process of demolishing was planned to begin.The collection of sounds is manifested through a multitude of means such as interviews, field recording and on-site interventions. The final outcome – a methodologically developed sound archive – will be eventually brought back into the new layout in an unobtrusive m anner such as in-situ placement of QR (quick response) codes, mobile and locative technology.

Sound installation based on eight selected soundscapes from Slussen/Stockholm was presented in October 2013 at the Medborgarplatsen Library in Stockholm.Exhibition in collaboration with Polska Institutet, Intercult and Medborgarplatsen Biblioteket. Photos by Polska Institutet. Read more about the project under SlussenProject, Archiving the ephemeral

Museum of Forgotten Things (in WRJ)

(AKA) Main Street Museum

How is it I never knew about this place???

Curiosities Collection ~ Live Event Venue ~ Community Space

White River Junction Tourism: 7 Things to Do in White River Junction ...

The Main Street Museum is a small, public collection of curiosities and artifacts, each one of which is significant and each one of which tells some kind of story about human beings and the complex—sometimes baffling—universe we are a part of.

Through the study of an accumulation of small details, the aim of the Museum is to cultivate among both specialists, and among the general public, a sense of wonder at the big questions that arise when we study and categorize objects and our reactions to them. We believe that our relationships with objects are more complex than usually acknowledged; indeed sometimes far more complex.

We are an ongoing, alternative experiment in material culture studies.  The Main Street Museum is a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation.

Main Street Museum is located in downtown White River Junction at 58 Bridge Street, opposite Railroad Row, near the underpass.  Parking is conveniently located adjacent to the rear of the Museum building on the White-riverside.

May It Please You! 

25 Years The Main Street Museum
December 1992 – December 2017