MFA Contemporary Art Theory

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Having just written 12,000 of them, I have few words to say at the moment.

Perhaps once you’ve read it, I’ll have thought of one.

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Personal Glossary

Term Definition
Abwesend Absent, away from a place
Actor Network Theory Abandons hierarchical ontology to propose a level plane of entities, or actors
Agency The capacity to act in the world
An Oak Tree A transubstantiated glass of water
Art as Life Continuous practice, pure activity, not leading to particular results
Art Object Things that result from art works
Art Work/Art Project/Project Network The wider network of artist, objects, documentation, happenings, publications, curator, organisation, audience, etc.
Art Writing Writing within the art project

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Picture Postcard

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A blog post in which I question representation and relate tourism to a work of art.

I went to Paris in 2010. I was in 2nd year at art school and hadn’t yet discovered Ceal Floyer or scrutinised An Oak Tree. I was more interested in purchasing a beret and wearing it to saunter around the Pompidou, with a sophisticated belonging of course. And then I came back to Dundee and the 31st of the month arrived as it often did, and with it, the time to discard a pair of scratchy contact lenses for fresh ones.

Think of what they had seen, though. An entire trip, a life moment. Alas, no. It could not be done.

I spent the next year or so in the studio exploring this phenomenon of stowing nostalgia in objects. But I think I may have overplayed the role of irrational sentiment. Continue reading

On

The Lightswitch Object

A work of art requires affirmation from an audience. Without reception, and the means for reception, there is a very ‘tree falling in the woods’ situation. In considering the artwork as a network of effect, the light switch is a vital element. Formalist theorists prefer to think of the artwork as an independent unit expressing specific autonomy with no reliance on the beholder. The 1970s saw the dawn of conceptual art and with it, the proclamation that a communicated idea was of more value than a self-sufficient art object. An artwork is a fluid and changeable entity made up of many components in an active network. The artwork, and indeed the object, is an event in which there are many counterparts. The value of an ordinary object, a light switch within the gallery, will be considered to argue this.  

“Phone Voice: I wanna play a game.
Casey Becker: [crying] No.
Phone Voice: Then he dies right now!
Casey Becker: [screaming and crying] NO!! No!
Phone Voice: Which is it? [serious tone] Which is it?
Casey Becker: [crying] Well… what kind of a game?
Phone Voice: Turn off the light. You’ll see what kind of game. Just do it! [Casey walks to the light switch.]
Steve Orth: [muffled] No, Casey! No! No! [Casey switch off the lights.] NO! CASEY!!!”
Scream

It is common in the horror movie genre for the light switch to be a pinnacle object. To turn on the lights ensures safety in illumination, whereas the darkness of lights off signifies uncertainty and danger.[1] Scream, 1996, is a self-referential horror movie utilising, and making aware of, many conventional tactics of the genre. The characters in Scream are themselves fans of horror movies. When Casey Becker turns off the lights at the request of the phone villain, dubbed Ghostface, Steve Orth knows she will perish.

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TT

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Tuesday Talks is going well this semester. Myself and fellow MFA student James Currie have taken the concept under our wing.

The structure of having two students speak amongst their peers in a comfortable environment generates much discussion at the end of the session.

It is beneficial for artists to talk about their work, but also to listen about it and around it.

Tuesday Talks

RELAYTUESDAY

TUESDAY TALKS
First Talk: Tuesday 21st October. 1-2pm. Room JO3, ECA

Tuesday Talks is a weekly event that allows students to present work to their peers in an informal environment and receive research and skill tips. Every week two artists will present their talk, followed by a short Q&A session. All students are welcome to attend.
If students are interested in presenting a talk, please contact relay.eca@gmail.com

Report on Ahland

The Ahland Report(click to read) is done and in the process of being dusted.

Most of last semester was taken up by establishing the small micronation of Ahland. Having received encouragement from the Scottish Government, made contact with other micronations and in talks about continuing the project further, I can confidently say it was a worthwhile and successful project.

And so it’s time to collect Summer endeavours. I need a break from pink, green, grey and grey.