Sunday, February 3, 2013

New haven, Connections

My project is titled New haven, Connections. I will find a different, new, haven, i.e. some kind of a refuge or safe spot for art, in public space, by which I mean, out of our house and off of our land, but it could be on or off campus, rural, urban or suburban. In this haven I will improvise a piece, whether a song, a dance, or an installation of some kind. I will document this by writing it up on my blog each day, and also by photographing or videoing where possible, either by asking an onlooker or doing it myself. I'll also post a link to my blog on Facebook.
I'm starting tomorrow, Feb 4, and continuing through late April at least.

The title needs some explanation. It is a dedication to my mother, who was born in New Haven, CT; on her marriage certificate with my Dad, which was issued by the tiny village in France where they married in 1947, her birthplace appears as "New Havey, Connections". We've heard about this since we were little, and recently I had to get a copy of the marriage certificate for government purposes and sure enough, there it is. She is now 88, we lost my Dad last year, and while she is not on her way out, yet, she is definitely getting ready for own exit. I have come to experience her death as akin to another birth. (See my previous post.)

I dreamed the title for the piece on the night after coming to class. There is a story to this too. After I left class I walked down towards the duckpond, and saw a fox, very large, red, and vigorous, which stopped and looked at me, turned and left, and then turned around and looked at me again. A little further down I could smell the fox which reminded me of living in England and Ireland. Then I found on the ground a big wasp's nest, blown down from a tree, which I picked up and took with me. I realized the wasp's nest smelled of fox, I was taking the scent with me: the fox must have marked it. (Both nest and scent being 'indexes'.) So my bedroom is now permeated with the scent of wild fox, as are my dreams.

An important part of what I want to do artistically has to do with expanding our reference or context beyond our own species. We have become more and more self-referent over the centuries, and other species, as aware beings with whom we share space and resources, are seen as separate and secondary. Perhaps Conceptual Art as a movement takes this to the final degree: we disappear up our own navels or assholes in order to make the conventions of art fall apart, a gain in consciousness that only a human brain could encompass. In another way I guess maybe the aim (of conceptual art) is to push us back into a more wholistic brain by pushing us all the way into the frontal cortex so as to show it for what it is. I am emboldened by your title, Art After Conceptual Art, to do something that gestures at least, no maybe it really moves, towards an art that is embedded in the rest of  nature. I'm thinking Andy Goldsworthy of course, though not exactly the same.

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