Thursday, March 05, 2009

Artist as Transparent Medium

Tony Oursler has a new solo show titled "Cell Phones Diagrams Cigarettes Searches and Scratch Cards" at Metro Pictures.

Oursler, in conversation:
I always said I'm just an instrument; I'm transparent, like a medium, the language passes through me. Which is a bit like saying I'm a recording device, I start and I go. I had a real connection to ongoing, language production in real time.
At what point does what we still call performance art become an installation?
You put yourself over to the language and then the language becomes you.
Letting the language speak itself through you but not as a result of some celestial inspiration rather as part of an unconscious aesthetic potential that once triggered into action sends the body into creative spasm.
You know a narrative always has characters and action link up in a certain way that informs a structure or a plot. But what you're talking about is radical because you're in the moment resonating on the word as it comes along. Letting each word have its meaning. It's almost like a minimalist structure overlaid on language. Because you have the material honed down to a precise state's unfettered by composition.
It's almost as if the work comes to life when it is articulated in the discovery-space of choral writing, where the pseudo-autobiographical persona unconsciously projects their next postproduction performance.

Who are we versioning this time? The installation artist? The performance artist? The narrative artist?
What I've always been interested in is the difference between installation and narrative. If it's an installation, it can't really be a narrative. because if you have narrative, it's not an installation anymore, it's a story. It's the difference between being in a movie or a play or a performance and being in a sculpture where you can come in at any point and feed on it. You've of course straddled that line really wonderfully in a lot of ways. So this forward structure where does it fall? The focus of our interview is installations. But you're talking about something that falls on the cusp.
This blurring of narrative and installation has been a main thread in the art projects emanating out of Professor VJ's post-studio practice for the last fifteen years. GRAMMATRON is both a hypermedia narrative and a network installation. PHON:E:ME is both a network installation and a concept album about conceptual art. FILMTEXT is both an interactive new media environment that samples from cinematic forms and a network installation.

Immobilité will be both a looping feature-length "foreign film" (i.e. work of narrative art) and an installation.

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