Archive for the ‘Exercise 3: Declaration’ Category

Exercise 3: Declaration

11 February 2010

Director: Txomin Badiola

Venue: Proforma Studio

Faced with the unavoidability of having to place a number of people (15 participants) before an artistic conundrum -represented by the theme group MáquinaL- this exercise provides an introduction to the general questions implicit in the theme group by means of an action where participants exchange their roles. The person making the declaration is its target, whilst the place of the audience -who are expected not to know and are therefore forced to wonder about what is being presented- is taken by the declaration’s subject.

In addition to this first aim, the action is intended to provide a first contact between the participants amongst themselves and with the three directors who, in exchanging their roles, somehow subvert the convention whereby a presentation is followed by a Q&A.

What do we do when we are asked to make a declaration about what we do? When giving in to this kind of demand, the artist often ends up providing a set of explanations that leave him or her feeling not only linguistically incompetent, but also with a sense that the capacities expected of the work itself are undermined. Furthermore, verbalisations of this kind generally provide for a passive spectator who is satisfied with an explanation that stands in for the work itself. They place the artistic experience of a work beyond its natural realm and its appreciation is reduced to tallying intentions against outcomes. We know there is a plane for expression and an plane for content. One is individual and the other is necessarily social. The first comes under the individual’s control whilst the second is established within a relationship. It is therefore hard to reach a perfect correspondence between the two – there shall always exist something that escapes us; something will be created that we were not expecting.

When we are asked to explain a work of art, we could perhaps tackle the issue simply by listing the elements taken into consideration, the kind of relationships they are subjected to and a subtle suggestion of how they may ultimately be transformed. Even so, we should try to avoid taking all this as a stated intention to be matched against an outcome.