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Exercise 30: PROFORMA Log. The Structure of Art

17 March 2010

Director: Txomin Badiola

Venue: Proforma Studio

Is there such thing as a metalanguage — a language capable of speaking about another language? What does a linguistic model analyse when it is appropriated by the artistic process? How should we artists speak amongst ourselves? Does current discourse leave any opening for a poetic notation; i.e., one that is artistic and therefore non-discursive?

The exercise is about creating a log, a navigation diary, where each participant relates each of the 30 exercises. A daily poetic annotation resulting from the distillation of the experience gleaned from each exercise, on the basis of a set signifying remains drawn from somewhere else, the outcome of a mutilation process. The ultimate aim is to generate a recording of an entirety of the exercises, on a par with the Proforma Module but attained not by consensus but as a result of each participant’s absolutely subjective and poetic view.

On the first day of Proforma, each participant shall be given a pack of 30 pages taken from Jack Burham’s book The Structure of Art, one of the key essays on the application of linguistics to art. All images will have been erased from these pages, as well as any reference to works, artists, dates, movements or theories, leaving only chunks of sentences and an array of gaps and sections. In this way, each page becomes a sort of poetic form to be filled in by each participant following each exercise. At the end —36 days later— after completing all the exercises, these materials, be they virtual or physical, shall take on the physical form of fifteen books with one common index and different content.