the status of artists

Writing and/in/about Art

International Conference on Artistic Research, The Hague 28-29 April 2016, University of the Arts The Hague & Leiden University, Venues: Royal Conservatoire and Royal Academy of Art, by SAR: Society for Artistic Research

It is more lexical than I thought.

The discussion is about writing and art, with the ‘in’ and ‘about’ art prevailing. Art described as a disruption to the organisation of the human life was a good start. Only the disruptions presented were surprisingly orderly. The ‘f***-up’ suggested (Alva Noe), and warmly embraced, as defining better the nature of disruption, was scarcely represented in the workshops; for example, as a rumour (Dean Hughes), and in the performative talks that followed, as sound-scapes (Salome Voegelin).

OK, more notes to decipher.

(And then day-2 to go through)


'Art and Philosophy' by Alvo Noe
‘Art and Philosophy: Taking Aim at the Invention of Writing’ by Alva Noe
'Writing about the Sound of Unicorns' by Salome Voegelin
‘Writing about the Sound of Unicorns’ by Salome Voegelin
'A Column of Air' by Redell Olsen
‘A Column of Air: Flickers/Writing/Painting’ by Redell Olsen
'Exposion Writing: Radical Epistemology' by Michael Schwab
‘Exposion Writing: Radical Epistemology’ by Michael Schwab


Notebook from the symposium ‘Transcoding Flusser: Synthetic Thinking’

[only the notebook pages with both text and image]

No better way to pick it up where I left it: at the academy of visual arts in The Hague (KABK). It’s been some time since I posted anything on this blog; life is full, or the mind is empty. Whatever it is, or was, writing and drawing come to the surface, pinching me to go further. Am I not lucky?

What was discussed at the symposium could fill a number of posts. But I first want to see the exhibition at West (the gallery was also the organiser of the symposium in The Hague). Already on their website there is a lot of interesting material from the Flusser archive (Berlin) and from the symposium.

Only one note for now: Yes, it would help a lot the non-experts in philosophical terms, if the ‘model for energetic dialogue’ would include a walking-in-room kind of aspect. The openness about this of the initiators, who also convened & moderated the discussions, Dr. phil. Baruch Gottlieb & Steffi Winkler, is highly appreciated. Thanks!

Transcoding Flusser: Synthetic Thinking
International symposium: Friday 15 April 10.00-18.00h + Saturday 16 April 11.00-16.00h | Auditorium, Royal Academy of Art The Hague

01_flusser_symp_notes_web 06_flusser_symp_notes_web 02_flusser_symp_notes_web 03_flusser_symp_notes_web 04_flusser_symp_notes_web 05_flusser_symp_notes_web

Art and Science at KABK (Royal Academy of Visual Arts)

Art & Science is the most popular programme of the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague (KABK). Students get busy with sounds and images generated by analogue or electronic devices.

For those who are interested but also for those who don’t have a feel for such things, the fact is that there is a new generation out there acquainted with this concept; and backed up by the usual mentors too.

During the open day, last Saturday, I made this short video; the impression is characteristic of the field “art & science” as it is also seen in big art events.

P.S. The use of old machines and cutlery in order to make sounds referring to the noise of the humans has a sense of an ending. Maybe they have found what we all have been searching for as meaning, concluded in absurdity.

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The art of painting as role model

We call a role model a person that inspires the younger, mostly, with his or her positioning in life. Behaviour and success are considered the key points, but the historical moment and the trends that go with it allow this positioning to come out as success and as likeable behaviour, or not. Outside everyday life, role models are easy to identify in films, as well as in books; in a description so to say. But what if we would remove the descriptive part and offer the values of a role model in pure art.

A painter would suggest this:

Painting has an important role to play in our society despite of what people and the art world itself proclaim with frequent judgements. Painting – the act of and the responsiveness to – is a role-model to the following:

  1. Self-sufficiency, to the extent possible
  2. Non-consumerism
  3. A sense of devotion outside religions
  4. A measurable ability for concentration
  5. A chance for contemplation with result to non-navigated thoughts
  6. A movement of the brain in connection to the intelligent movements of the hands
  7. A sense that time and space expand, shrink and take forms in respond to our disposition
  8. A counter balance to art as entertainment
  9. A living connecting point to tradition and history
  10. A dimmer of human created noise

Thoughts by a a devoted painter and resilient advocate of the special quality that painting offers to the arts and to the community.

@wijn&kunst, setting up the exhibition “the taste of light”

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Volkspaleis 2014 – sound and entropy

Volkspaleis 2014
Zuiderstrandtheater Scheveningen
18 October to 16 November 2014

The Zuiderstrandtheater is here to stay; never mind the confusion about its temporary status; it is standing there, so why not use it too. Gallery West organises this year’s Volkspaleis in this new space. Previous editions of this event of a 30 days span, took place in the Turbinehal of the E.On Electriciteitsfabriek and the Grote Kerk in the centre of The Hague. It is organised by Gallery West so mainly video and sound is the expected. A programme full of (experimental) music/ performances; it must be the place to be for sonology students as well as the art&science department of the art academy.

The music programme falls under the title “Public Address/ Hommage à Loudspeaker”; which next to the obvious, performances and concerts, it interprets into lectures/ presentations of the history, aesthetics and functionality of the loudspeaker, the mobility and portability of speakers, the amplified sound, the sounding systems in theatres and finally the absence of them with relation to the acoustic sound. “From maximum volume and electricity, from overwhelming fill and reach to no electricity at all, almost complete silence and acoustic ways of amplifying sound”, I read in the printed programme. In this programme there is also a workshop for constructing DIY speakers by hacking virtuoso Nic Collins, only this weekend; this means that you register from before and go there with a bag of materials (like a radio and batteries and cables) and then the fun begins. I expect the men of the house to come back all excited… but that does not mean that only men participate; not at all.

Of the immobile exhibits, the black&white films in Hall 1 are the first to ask for our attention and time of course; there is a couch at good distance from each of the screens, except from the screen showing the film “Seven songs for Malcolm X” by John Akomfrah (the black audio film collective)-UK1993. For this one you have to stand on a specific point under the speakers, which gives a tough time to whoever wants to see the whole film. In the belief that all is set with a purpose I should think that this is the minimum effort asked from the viewer…but again this is not clear. Anyway, I found this as the most interesting film and very much linked to the present. The other films felt old, though not all of them really are. The outtakes (yes, the rejected material) of Maya Deren’s  “A study in choreography for camera” also feel contemporary in their fragmented narration, sometimes mere repetition of a take which gives an hysterical tone to the result; however, it also lets us look more carefully at the interiors of our grandparents time.

Who says that only in our times you can barely make anything rejected disappear?


"A study in choreography for camera-outtakes" Maya Deren, 1945 -Volkspaleis in Strandtheater

“A study in choreography for camera-outtakes” Maya Deren, 1945 -Volkspaleis in Zuiderstrandtheater

workshop room during the break
DIY workshop room during the break
leaving the Strandtheater towards the town center
leaving the Zuiderstrandtheater towards the town centre

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Mark Rothko at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

This is not a review of the Rothko exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum; a super event surely, advertised all over The Hague on a poster with the most attractive purple colour ever. This is a stream of thoughts by a painter, me, walking by the works of one of the best artists of the last century at least. The exhibition is so much museum minded, educational, a set up for the wide public, with the beginning, the middle and the end clearly marked and explained. It is not bad to use the language to guide; can’t imagine what the reaction would be if there were only the paintings standing there, calling to the chaos. I am not sure whether Rothko would have approved the exhibition, but then he is dead so long that his opinion is a relic for historians and archivists. His works on the other hand stand like space rocks on the walls, detached from the content of the room. We, the spectators, belong to the squared floor and the air above it while the paintings pulsate in present-infinity. They represent the rarely heard moment of tuning to the universe’s sound. Some of us feel that this tuning is what painting is about, just like music. Yet, it is rather improbable for anyone to weep in front of them in the company of at least thirty others in the room and the audio guides in hands and ears.

It is kind of odd this high-end presentation in between the produces of the creative industry (which of course has goggled up the myth and the money about Rothko too, no doubt). However, in the times of no-object art, this is a formidable reminder that painting is not some kind of trick, is not entertainment nor a description of anything, and certainly does not need words to go with it nor heavy meanings and references. By the way, painting does not need to be interactive either; standing contemplative in front of it should be enough.

Still, Rothko’s earlier works are amusing throwing into insignificance the charms of shape or texture: mucky, indelicate, incomprehensible just as observations of something not visible. Colour passes by quickly and then as the rooms darken to host the reds and the blacks, I align once more with his view, that red and black are not like the other colours. They are as far as it can be from being decorative or descriptive and therefore closer to the step beyond. Besides, once you’ve shifted towards them it needs a good dosage of insanity to help you get by; the emotional crack is unbearable. When you have a good hatch in reality to get back and forth, it can very well not be the end. But then again, talking about the self inflicted end; imagine, you have an ailing body, you’re working in loneliness for a spiritual experience in painting and then this is your destiny: you have rallied with a soup can and the soup can won (and in an extended time projection too).

It can also though be the accomplished life that allows the end.

“Silence is so accurate.” M.R.

Read also my article on Dutch Review Mark Rothko in The Hague

Mark Rothko at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Mark Rothko at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag the rooms darken...
…as the rooms darken…

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