A circle in the room. No introductions. Nodding of the head, yes, yes, I am listening. A circle in the snow. The reminder of long acquaintance in passing. Reluctance to speak until the moment when it was possible to speak of children, of absence and the longing to return. Trying to balance; but perhaps a matter of depth and surface, of trying to keep the head above water. A blue shirt, but casually worn; the serious, the earnest and confident discussion, surprising dropped. An insouciant alacrity to dance, but this is later. The long explanation of a simple and ugly thing. A moment of account. A neat suit, a sweater, a charming smile, one responding to everything, with constant note taking. The air of paying attention. A late arrival; immediate reaction. Another late arrival. A third arrival. Forgetting where we are; being reminded of where we are. Beautiful stockings, embroidered boots, laying down words and gestures as material things. One story among others. Thinking on the spot. A stone in the hand. A stone on the floor. A stone in my hand, which does not rest there. The ability to appear as one that is performed, until there is little or no difference. A straight back, a careful and particular style, including fabulous boots. Imagining common ground. Refusing common ground. The desire for common ground. Finding common ground; the relief. Waiting to speak. Not speaking. Listening. Pretending to listen but checking email instead. Checking email while listening, yes, yes, I hear you. The identification of an accent or a certain tone of voice, yes, yes, I hear you and in hearing you, I recognise something about you. Black lace-up shoes, and quite a formal jacket; the assuming of a critical position as a matter of position. Making a point forcefully. The problem of making a forceful point, the insistence on participation; forgetting at times to leave space for nothing to happen. Introductions at last. No more than names. Too late for naming: what do you do? A sudden lack of vocabulary. Obscure or irrelevant or inappropriate examples (on my part, anyway). Sending a script as though it mattered, expecting its enacting. Reluctance with good humour. Voices raised obligingly; two refusals, one covert but unengaged, one declared in the seizure of mastery. The formation of small groups, consciously or unconsciously, despite the democratic round table, the sharing of hospitality. The importance of lunch. Premature indulgence. Looking forward to supper. Waiting for a friendly move. Reading aloud. The outside. The inside. An extravagant sweater. The invitation to touch one’s own hand as though it might belong to another. A story that provoked interest and anger. Positions taken up, but as an undercurrent. Standing in the snow looking at the mountains, which are almost impossible to see. The nervous plucking at the skirt of a dress. Pretending we do not know each other, or at least, not under the circumstances we did. Glances exchanged and eyebrows raised: an unexpected complicity. Duration, endurance. The inability to leave the room. The impossibility or remaining. Day-dreaming. Making a sign in the air. Making an internal sign, Thinking of being elsewhere. Returning to the present. Passivity disguised as participation. Aggression disguised as dialogue. Active production. Obliged production. The rejection of collective work. Communication but not transmission. The noise of sharing. Exposure, in a practiced way. Greedy reflexes. Opening holes. Closing gaps. The occasional moment of an exchange always ruptured. Pretending to have a headache. Having a headache. Not being asked a single question. The porosity of spaces. Clearing up as though we had not been there. Meeting in the street. Arriving on time. Putting in the hours. Early departures (why?). Leaving in time. The bitter end, of course; sticking it out to the end. We must. We do. We will. Slipping away quietly.
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/Which key-notes would you like to share with all of us?
It is quite simple to fold past events into the present, but to fold present events into the future and to forget anticipated futures effectively is a difficult task, particularly if there are distinct anticipated futures. The “coming” offers an adequate conceptual space in which such active forgetting of anticipated futures can be achieved through the passage of time.
In addition to stomping and melting as forms of setting and virtuality the expansion-form describes the affective and effective forces of spatial contamination.
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/What is the relevance of WOF in your work? How do its aspects reflect in your current projects and how could you imagine integrating the questions WOF raised in future projects?
Thanks to all of you for making the WOF! You may have realized that I have not participated in the building of a model. The reason is that the WOF itself is my model including the question of its making. The WOF is an artistic research project that among other aspects examines spaces of freedom for art’s involvement in academic research contexts. This question is relevant for an ethical redefinition of the artwork and art practice in a globalized market-driven art world dominated by a consumer-friendly curatorial system of transnational large-scale exhibitions. Claiming that the art worlds of the 1970s were just romantic ineffective refuges would mean to disregard their capacity of transforming socio-political issues into artistic material exhibiting real difference. Today, contrarily, the art world seems materialized as consumable material representing the world’s capitalist infrastructure.
Philosophically speaking we could say, for example, that art is the exhibition of the potential of not not being. The wonder of art resides in the sensation of the freedom that it could have been radically otherwise – and that it is not. While everything exhibits itself as it is and thus cannot be otherwise, art exhibits itself as its impossibility of being otherwise and thus constantly reemerges as it is: and makes us wonder. There is an intrinsic connectedness between art and the world in which it is embedded: within the immanence of gesture. But at the same time art’s gestures can only be connected to aims outside the wonder of art. While the gesture of walking leads to a position, the gesture of art leads nowhere, to atopy, to a-position (just) so to speak.
Thus, the WOF is constitutive for my dissertation wall sandwich – The Architectural in Art Practice from Destruction to Non-Construction. The cave and the ‘studiolo’ (an Italian Renaissance intellectual translation of the eremitic cave or the monastic cell into a hybrid architectural typology of a bourgeoise “study” room) are exemplary spaces of the architectural as non-construction: a hole in the ground and virtual space. The cavities left by the footprints of “ornament” and “gesture” as well as the virtual molds of melting or expanding models constituted an experimental framework of non-constructive art practice.
The focal shift in the art world (and beyond) from architecture to the urban and the global (and beyond) finds an institutional parallel in the Swiss context from art & architecture (Kunst & Bau) to art in public spheres (Kunst im öffentlichen Raum). The WOF together with the concept of non-construction point beyond public space towards a virtual artistic infrastructure.